Athlon Sports thinks rather highly of Penn State football following its 11-win 2016 season.
After pegging Penn State at No. 6 in their early top-25 rankings, Athlon Sports included 12 Nittany Lions on its projected 2017 All-Big Ten team — second-most in the conference behind Ohio State.
Penn State also tied with the Buckeyes for most offensive selections (six).
Heisman contenders Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley were named the first-team running back and second-team quarterback, respectively. McSorley was listed behind Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett.
Veteran wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton was a first-team option, and tight end Mike Gesicki was on the second-team behind Wisconsin’s Troy Fumagalli. Offensive lineman Ryan Bates and center Connor McGovern were second and fourth-team selections, respectively.
On the other side of the ball, Marcus Allen led the way with a first-team spot at safety. Linebacker Jason Cabinda was a second-team selection, cornerback Grant Haley landed on the third-team, and Torrence Brown was a fourth-team pick at defensive end.
As for special teams, punter Blake Gillikin earned a first-team nod, while placekicker Tyler Davis was a second-teamer.
The Nittany Lions open their season against Akron on Sept. 2.