Evan Royster may not have been Penn State’s most electric runner, but he’s the one at the top of the charts.
Royster — the program’s all-time leading rusher with 3,932 yards — is being chased by Saquon Barkley. The former Nittany Lion chimed in on Barkley, but we’ll have more on that later in the week in a larger piece.
In the meantime, Royster, a former running back with the Washington Redskins, joined us for “Five Questions” to discuss the John Cappelletti, life after football and more.
Q: On Oct. 30, 2010, in a 41-31 win over Michigan at home, you broke Curt Warner’s all-time rushing record. What do you remember most fondly about that night?
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A: It’s funny, I don’t remember much about that night. I think the thing that sticks out to me now looking back is how excited my parents and having everybody — a whole bunch of my family members — there. I remember seeing them on TV after and seeing how excited they got. That’s the memory that sticks with me. Obviously, the game was awesome. It was great to get a win and great to break the record that night against an in-conference rival like Michigan. But what sticks with me is my family.
Q: You wore No. 22 at Penn State, and then after Akeel Lynch wore it, it was retired. What kind of an honor was it to wear the number associated with Penn State’s lone Heisman winner, John Cappelletti?
A: It was a great honor. It was one of those things that made me nervous at first as a freshman when I heard it. I really wasn’t too familiar with Penn State and the history that came with it. But I was quickly educated on it. It was one of those things that I just have to live up to that number, and luckily I was able to have a pretty good career.
Q: Being a key member of the 2008 team that went to the Rose Bowl, what was your favorite part of that season? What sticks out to you?
A: I think we just had a good group of guys, and that Rose Bowl experience of being out there and actually taking part in the festivities that surrounded the Rose Bowl was cool. Obviously the Ohio State game, winning at The Shoe, was pretty cool.
Q: This is one I like to ask a lot of the guys. In college or pro, who was the toughest guy you went up against or had to game-plan around?
A: It’s funny, I didn’t play that much as a pro (laughs). I’m going to stick with college here. A guy who probably didn’t get the hype that I think he deserved, a guy that I remember playing against vividly and a guy that I remember thinking like, “This guy is really good,” was Greg Jones from Michigan State, the linebacker. I just remember him being a great side-to-side runner, great tackler and great all-around player.
Q: Now that you’re out of football, what are you up to these days? How have you transitioned from your playing career?
A: So I work in an education technology company called EverFi. I’m actually partnered with the NFL and United Way right now where we implement one of our core courses, a healthy relationships course, into middle schools. We bring out players to talk with them and things like that. I’m very much still tied to football, but at the same time very disconnected from it. The transition has been interesting to say the least. At first, it was very difficult. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after football. I just stumbled upon this opportunity through some Penn State connections actually, and it really helped me out and helped me make that transition at a time when I really didn’t think I was going to be able to.