Penn State football: 5 great Nittany Lions who didn’t live up to the NFL hype

Ki-Jana Carter of the Penn State Nittany Lions. Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger /Allsport
Ki-Jana Carter of the Penn State Nittany Lions. Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger /Allsport /
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Overrated Penn State football players, NFL Busts
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While Saquon Barkley became a legend of mythical proportions at Penn State and while Larry Johnson lit the college football world on fire in the 2002 season, it’s actually Evan Royster that sits atop the Nittany Lions career rushing record books for what he did in his time in college. No, he was never singularly dominant but he was a consistent workhorse in Happy Valley.

Royster served as a heavily used backup as a redshirt freshman and showed his prowess as he put up 513 yards and five touchdowns on just 82 carries. The running back actually had his best overall statistical season as a redshirt sophomore in 2008. On just 191 carries, he rushed for 1,236 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year, kicking off a string of three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

The following year, Royster continued to thrive as he rushed for 1,169 yards and six touchdowns on 205 carries. As a redshirt senior, he put up 1,014 yards and six touchdowns on 208 carries, concluding a record-breaking career as he remains Penn State’s all-time leader in career rushing yards while ranking tied for seventh in career rushing touchdowns.

Despite writing the Nittany Lions record books, Royster wasn’t selected until the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft when the Washington Redskins tabbed him. While he flashed when given opportunities as a rookie due to injuries, taking 56 carries for 328 yards, he never got a full opportunity again after that, registering just 25 more carries over the next two seasons before never seeing a regular-season snap again in his career.