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The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time

Updated May 22, 2020 27.0k votes 2.8k voters 52.7k views94 items

List RulesUpvote the best Penn State football players based ONLY on their time at Penn State.

For years, Penn State was known as one of the great bastions of Northeastern football. Located in State College, PA, the school is known for having some of the greatest college football teams in NCAA history. Some of the best college football players of all time have emerged from the school that's nicknamed "Linebacker U."

The storied history of Penn State has resulted in national championships and a loyal, devoted fan and alumni base who proudly call themselves "Penn Staters." However, the players aren't slouches either. Franco Harris and Jack Ham are two Hall of Fame players who attended Penn State and were forces on the gridiron in both college and the NFL. In the 1990s, players like Kerry Collins, Ki-Jana Carter, and Kyle Brady bridged the program's success into the next generation, while the 2000s saw running back Larry Johnson carry the team to greatness.

Who are the best players in Penn State history? Well, that depends on who you ask. If you like hard-nosed, rugged football, you'll pick a defensive player. Though knowing Penn State's football history, if you like that brand of football, you may select an offensive lineman who paved the way for the team's star players to find success. 

This is the list of the best Penn State football players of all time. Vote or re-rank the list according to how you see fit. Feel free to add any Penn State players who aren't already listed below. Then head over and check out the best Penn State wide receivers ever.

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  • 1
    Jack Ham is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    821
    241

    Jack Ham

    Linebacker

    BirthplaceJohnstown, Pennsylvania

    Age71

    TeamsPenn State Nittany Lions football

  • 2
    Curt Warner is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    575
    154

    Curt Warner

    Running back

    BirthplaceWyoming, West Virginia

    Age59

    TeamsSeattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams

  • 3
    Franco Harris is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
  • 4
    Saquon Barkley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    1,246
    254

    Saquon Barkley

    Running back

    TeamsNew York Giants

  • 5
    LaVar Arrington is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
  • 6
    Sean Lee is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    722
    217

    Sean Lee

    Linebacker

    BirthplacePittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Age34

    TeamsPenn State Nittany Lions football, Dallas Cowboys

  • 7
    John Cappelletti is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    538
    154

    John Cappelletti

    Running back

    BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania

    Age68

    TeamsLos Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers

    More John Cappelletti 

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  • 8
    Paul Posluszny is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    683
    208

    Paul Posluszny

    Linebacker

    BirthplaceButler, Pennsylvania

    Age35

    TeamsBuffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Penn State Nittany Lions football

    More Paul Posluszny 

    #226 of 432 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History#732 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever

  • 9
    Lenny Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    352
    68

    Lenny Moore

    Running back, Wide receiver

    BirthplaceReading, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Age86

  • 10
    Ki-Jana Carter is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    523
    151

    Ki-Jana Carter

    Running back

    BirthplaceWesterville, Ohio, United States of America

    Age47

  • 11
    Lydell Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    308
    61

    Lydell Mitchell

    Running back

    BirthplaceSalem, New Jersey

    Age71

  • 12
    Allen Robinson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    558
    156

    Allen Robinson

    Wide Receiver

    BirthplaceDetroit, Michigan

    Age27

    TeamsChicago Bears

    More Allen Robinson 

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  • 13
    Kerry Collins is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    493
    144

    Kerry Collins

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceLebanon, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Age47

    TeamsNew Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, Penn State Nittany Lions football, Carolina Panthers

    More Kerry Collins 

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  • 14
    Shane Conlan is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    390
    99

    Shane Conlan

    Linebacker

    BirthplaceFrewsburg, New York

    Age56

  • 15
    Larry Johnson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    535
    163

    Larry Johnson

    Running back

    BirthplacePomfret, Maryland, Maryland, United States of America

    Age40

    TeamsWashington Redskins, Cincinnati Bengals, Penn State Nittany Lions football, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs

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  • 16
    Mike Munchak is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    314
    74

    Mike Munchak

    Left Guard

    BirthplaceScranton, Pennsylvania

    Age60

    TeamsHouston Oilers, Penn State Nittany Lions football

  • 17
    Trace McSorley is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    364
    86

    Trace McSorley

  • 18
    Tamba Hali is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    506
    160

    Tamba Hali

    Defensive end, Linebacker

    BirthplaceGbarnga, Liberia

    Age36

    TeamsPenn State Nittany Lions football, Kansas City Chiefs

  • 19
    Steve Wisniewski is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    339
    88

    Steve Wisniewski

    Offensive Lineman, Guard

    BirthplaceRutland City, Vermont

    Age53

  • 20
    NaVorro Bowman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    517
    167

    NaVorro Bowman

    Linebacker

    BirthplaceDistrict Heights, Maryland

    Age32

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

  • 21
    Matt Millen is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    346
    106

    Matt Millen

    Linebacker

    BirthplaceHokendauqua, Pennsylvania

    Age62

    TeamsWashington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Penn State Nittany Lions football, San Francisco 49ers

    More Matt Millen 

    #170 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame#46 of 154 The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

  • 22
    Cameron Wake is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    377
    125

    Cameron Wake

    Defensive end, Linebacker

    BirthplaceBeltsville, Maryland

    Age33

    TeamsTennessee Titans

  • 23
    Blair Thomas is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    235
    63

    Blair Thomas

    Running back

    BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania

    Age52

  • 24
    Todd Blackledge is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
    283
    87

    Todd Blackledge

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceCanton, Ohio, United States of America

    Age59

    More Todd Blackledge 

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  • 25
    Rosey Grier is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Penn State Football Players of All Time
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