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Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Top Penn State sleepers

By Josh Moyer

Penn State's been able to find its fair share of starters from unheralded recruits, so NittanyNation decided to take a closer look its top-five sleepers since 2006.

These scholarship players came in with little fanfare but have since established themselves with conference honors, broken records and solid performances. Here they are:

1. WR Allen Robinson, Class of 2011, Two stars (Grade: 72)

Synopsis: A-Rob didn't really garner serious interest from other major programs  -- unless you count Minnesota -- and not a lot was expected from Rob Bolden's high school teammate. Actually, some fans wondered aloud just why PSU would take a chance on such a player. Obviously, no one's wondering anymore. Robinson's route-running, hands and leaping ability have transformed him into arguably the top wideout in the Big Ten. As a sophomore in 2012, he set the school's single-season receptions record with 77 catches.

2. RB Evan Royster, Class of 2006, Two stars (Grade: 72)

Evan Royster
Class of 2006 two-star recruit Evan Royster left State College as Penn State's all-time leading rusher.
Synopsis: He arrived as an unheralded running back, lost in the shadows of Austin Scott and Tony Hunt, but broke out as a redshirt sophomore with 1,236 rushing yards. He left Penn State as the school's all-time rushing leader with 3,932 yards -- smashing a record that stood on the books for a quarter-century.

3. DE Jack Crawford, Class of 2008, Two stars (Grade: 68)

Synopsis: Crawford flew under the radar because he took up football as a high school junior. He was projected at tight end but found great success as at DE. He played in every game as a freshman and became a three-year starter for PSU. He finished with 14 career sacks and was selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft.

4. OG John Urschel, Class of 2009, Unrated (Grade: N/A)

Synopsis: Urschel boasted just a handful of scholarship offers, and picking PSU appeared to be a relatively easy choice. He exceeded expectations by making the All-Big Ten team this past season and has become a key cog on the offensive line. He played in 11 games in 2011.

5. DT Jordan Hill, Class of 2009,  Three stars (Grade: 76)

Synopsis: Like DT Jared Odrick, Hill came in as a mid-level three star recruit. However, he didn't get nearly as much recruiting attention. His offers came from Rutgers and three in-state schools, but he dominated as an upperclassman. In the last two seasons. he finished with 16.5 tackles-for-loss and eight sacks. He was instrumental in the season-ending victory over Wisconsin.