Over the last decade or so, under the leadership of Head Coach James Franklin, Penn State has become the breeding ground of some of the best running backs in all of football. Saquon Barkley, Miles Sanders, and Journey Brown have all run the field at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions have a pair of highly touted sophomore running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen. I will be writing an article on each of these dynamic playmakers. Singleton is first on this list as one of the top RBs in all college football. Without further ado, let us dive into Singleton.
Singleton came to Penn State from Governor Mifflin High School in Reading, Pennsylvania. He was the No.1 player in the state and the No.1 running back in the entire country, according to 247sports.com. Singleton put up a truly historic season during his final year of high school. He put up a stat line of 165/2,043/41! As a result of this year, he was also named the 2021-2022 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year. You can see his high school highlights below.
As you can imagine, Singleton had his choice of a number of heavy hitter programs. He eventually chose Penn State from a list that included Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Texas A&M, and Alabama. When asked why he decided to stay home and attend Penn State over the other programs. Singleton pointed out the recent legacy of the position, stating that “Coach (JuJuan) Seider (the Penn State run game coordinator) talked about the running back position,” Singleton said. “Saquan (Barkley), Journey (Brown), Miles (Sanders). He told me I fit right in. That just stuck with me.”
Upon his arrival at Happy Valley, Singleton immediately made his presence felt. He and fellow freshman running back Allen made plays in their first action at Beaver Stadium. He went on to enjoy a highly productive freshman campaign. Despite receiving only 20 carries once, he put up one of the best freshman seasons in school history. Had it not been for the success of fellow freshman Allen, he would have likely been much more productive. You can see his stats below.
|*2022||Penn State||Big Ten||SO||RB||13||156||1061||6.8||12||11||85||7.7||1||167||1146||6.9||13|
The first thing that stands out when you put on a film of Singleton is his speed. He has adequate speed to take it to the house on any given play. This, combined with his vision, makes him an extremely dangerous player, as seen in the clips below.
Singleton also possesses excellent power. When defenders make a play on him, they need to do far more than just lay a hand on him. With his speed, Singleton repeatedly broke through arm tackles and was a threat to take it all the way once he got past that first level.
Singleton has some nice moves in the open field. He can use his wiggle to lose defenders in the hole. Once he gets past the first wave of defenders, he is willing to punish secondary players who attempt to bring him down. This, combined with his ability to run with speed and power, makes him much more dangerous.
If you are looking for an area where Singleton has major strides to make, it is the passing game. Despite having an excellent rushing season as a true freshman, he failed to make any real impact as a pass catcher. He only contributed 11/85/1 as a receiver out of the backfield. I believe he can certainly make major strides in this area since he did show some passing game chops, no matter how limited.
At this point in his collegiate career, Singleton looks like the next great Penn State running back. He has moxy in the media room and, above all, immense talent on the field. He brings the bigger half of one of college football’s best 1-2 punches.
Barring any unforeseen injury, I anticipate Singleton being a top-five rookie pick in your coming dynasty drafts. The entire Devy community is already firmly aware of the existence of the next great PSU running back. He and Allen form one of the best 1-2 punches since USC paired Reggie Bush to play with LenDale White. Both players will garner major national attention over the next two seasons.
If there is a chance for you to grab yourself a share of Singleton, do yourself a favor and act quickly. I anticipate Singleton once again putting up quality numbers this year. He is the perfect reason to begin stacking up on 2025 rookie picks, as he will certainly be a candidate for the top dynasty pick that year.
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