Penn State All Time Football Team – Part 3

In Penn State All Time Team, Penn State Football on January 12, 2012 at 5:56 am

PART 3 – Now that the Joe Paterno era of Penn State football has officially ended I wanted to have some fun and come up with my All Time Joe Paterno Penn State football team. There was actually a lot of thought that went in to this. I did a good bit of statistical research, used my long memory of Penn State football games and seasons gone bye and of course a lot of my opinion. I also tried to base my picks on their Penn State career and not their NFL career which leaves a few NFL Hall of Famers off the 1st Team. Please feel free to leave your comments. All positions can easily be disputed since there have been many great players to come through Happy Valley. I’ve even taken the liberty to add a few extra players because I couldn’t split the hair on who to pick. It was tough enough as it was. Part 1, I will pick the Offensive Line (5) and TE (1). Part 2, I will pick the WR (3) and QB (1). Part 3 I will pick the RB (3) and it was tough. Part 4 the DL (4), and DB’s (4) and Part 5 I will pick the LB’s (4), it was impossible and I may still change my mind at the last second, the kicker (1) and punter (1).  I’ve added a 2nd Team and an Honorable Mention list.


I selected 3 RUNNING BACKS for my 1st Team and here they are:

Curt Warner – 2 Time All American (81 & 82) Curt was inducted in to the College Football Hall of Fame. Warner was the leading rusher on the 1982 National Championship team that beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. He is #2 All Time in career rushing yardage to Evan Royster – 3398. Most career 100 yard rushing games with 18; Warner rushed for 922 yards as a sophomore, 1044 as a junior and 1041 as a senior. He scored 24 career touchdowns. Curt was a 1st round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks. He played in the NFL from 1983-1990 and played in 3 Pro Bowls.

Ki-Jana Carter – 1st Team All American (94). Played only 3 seasons before becoming the #1 pick in the draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He is #9 on the all time leading rusher list with 2829 yards. #3 in rushing yards in a season with 1539. #1 in 100 yard games in a season with 9. #3 in career TD’s scored with 34. #2 to Warner in career 100 yard games with 17. The statistic that put Carter on the 1st team was that he averaged 7.2 yards per carry for his career. He led the ground game for the 1994 undefeated team that is considered the greatest offense in Penn State history finishing 12-0 and beating Oregon in the Rose Bowl. Carter played through years of injuries but played off and on in the NFL from 1995-2004.

John Cappelletti – 1st Team All American (73).  Cappy was inducted in to the College Football Hall of Fame. He won the 1973 Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award and UPI Player of the Year leading the Nittany Lions to an undefeated season.  Cappy rushed for 1117 yards and 12 TD’s as a junior and 1522 yards and 17 TD’s as a senior. His 1524 yards is #4 on the single season rushing list. Cappy also holds the record for 3 consecutive 200 yard games and career and single season carries. Winning the Heisman is a free pass to the 1st Team. John was a 1st round draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams. He played in the NFL from 1974-1983.

2nd Team:

Lydell Mitchell –1st Team All American (73). Elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. Ranks #8 on the all time career rushing yardage list with 2934 yards but only played 3 seasons  because freshman were not eligible to play. Lydell ranks #1 in career TD’s with 38. His 1567 yards his senior season rank #2 on the all time list for yardage in a season. Mitchell had 15 career 100 yard games. He teamed with Franco Harris in the PSU backfield. Lydell was a 2nd round draft choice of the Baltimore Colts. He played in the NFL from 1972-1980 and played in 2 Pro Bowls.  

Curtis Enis – 1st Team All American (97) Curtis is #5 on the PSU career rushing list with 3256 yards. He is second to Lydell Mitchell with 36 TD’s scored. Enis led the team in rushing for three straight seasons (95-97). He holds the PSU record for 8 consecutive 100 yard games. Enis is tied with Carter for 2nd on the all time list with 17 – 100 yard rushing games. Curtis was drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft by the Chicago Bears. He played in the NFL from 1998-2000.

Honorable Mention:

Larry Johnson, DJ Dozier, Blair Thomas, Evan Royster, Tony Hunt, Matt Suhey, Eric McCoo, Franco Harris, Charlie Pittman

It should be noted that Larry Johnson had the greatest single season for a running back in PSU history. LJ rushed for 2087 yards in 2002. He also has the top 4 single game rushing yards in history with 327, 279, 279 and 257 yards. LJ scored 26 career TD’s. He earned 1st Team All American honors in ’02. He also won the Maxwell, Doak Walker and Walter Camp Awards. The problem with putting Johnson higher than Honorable Mention is that he did it all in one season.


    • The running back picks were tough. I had to go with a 3rd guy because Cappy had to be included. Lydell Mitchell was a great player that could’ve easily been on the 1st Team. Between Enis, Blair Thomas, DJ Dozier it was tough. How about Evan Royster the all time leading rusher and he couldn’t get a sniff of the 1st Team. As far as Franco, he was mainly a blocking back for Mitchell and never made an All American team. Pretty great pro career though.

  2. I agree that this one is incredibly difficult for the first team. The easy choices would be the three college football hall of fame running backs on your list (Mitchell, Cappelletti, and Warner). However, I have to agree with you on Carter over Mitchell. He didn’t win Heisman, but he probably would have if he didn’t share the backfield with an All American QB. As a Baltimore Colts fan, Lydell is one of my all time favorite players. But I can’t put him ahead of Warner ot Cappelletti. What might even be a tougher list would be to name the three best seasons by a running back at PSU during the Paterno era. LJ’s 2002, Blair Thomas in 1989, Carter’s 1994, Cappelletti’s 1973, and Mitchell’s 1971. How do you separate those years?

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