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Several Penn State Nittany Lions named to preseason award watch list

These Nittany Lions are earning high praise going into the 2023 season.



Kalen King, Penn State football
Penn State sophomore cornerback Kalen King watches during warmups before the 2022 Blue-White game at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, April 23, 2022, in State College. Hes Dr 042322 Bluewhite © Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

State College — We have yet to hit preview magazine season, but expectations surrounding the 2023 Penn State football team are already reaching a fever pitch. Beyond the hype around the program itself, several Nittany Lions have received preseason accolades in recent weeks. Most recently, on Friday, the Walter Camp Football Foundation named Olu Fashanu, Kalen King, and Chop Robinson preseason All-Americans.

Olu Fashanu and Kalen King named first-team preseason All-Americans

Walter Camp is the country’s oldest college football All-American team, dating back to 1889. On Friday, the organization released its list of first and second-team preseason All-Americans ahead of the 2023 season.

Olu Fashanu and Kalen King received first-team offensive and defensive honors, respectively. Both were second-team Walter Camp All-American selections in 2022. Last fall, as a first-year starter, Fashanu put together an impressive campaign that had him climbing up NFL mock draft boards. Fashanu didn’t allow a sack in nearly 300 passing attempts over nine games while maintaining the second-highest Pro Football Focus (PFF) pass-blocking grade in the Big Ten.

The Walter Camp list is the second preseason All-American team Kalen King has made this week. King was one of two corners named PFF preseason All-Americans last Monday. As a sophomore, King led all corners in PFF’s single coverage defensive grades. Last month, King was voted the best cornerback in the Big Ten ahead of the 2023 season. King faces the arduous task of replacing Joey Porter, Jr. as Penn State’s top corner this fall. However, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz didn’t hesitate when asked about the transition on Tuesday, stating simply, “Kalen is ready for the challenge.”

Chop Robinson earns second-team preseason All-American honors

Chop Robinson rounds out the list of preseason All-Americans for the Nittany Lions, earning second-team honors. Robinson was the highest-graded pass rusher in the nation last season, recording 18 solo tackles, 5.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. Transitioning into a more prominent role in the defense for 2023, it should surprise no one if Robinson accrues even higher accolades by the season’s end.

Preseason watch lists in April make everyone roll their eyes; I get it. But landing on the Walter Camp preseason All-American team is no joke. Fashanu, King, and Robinson earned their spots with their performances on the field last fall. And while we’re still a long way away from Penn State’s opener with West Virginia on September 2, it’s not too early to say that the same caliber of play will be needed of these three if the Nittany Lions have any hope of reaching their lofty 2023 expectations.

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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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