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Thursday, May 23, 2013
Penn State 10: Post spring rankings

By Josh Moyer

It’s Rankings Week at NittanyNation. Until today, we’ve ranked some aspect touching on PSU heading into the 2013 season. On this final day of Rankings Week, we've released PSU player power rankings for the spring.

Spring PSU player power rankings

1. WR Allen Robinson. He needed just one year as a starter to break PSU's single-season record for receptions and become the top wideout in the conference. Now, cue Daft Punk, because he's better, faster, stronger. This top spot is not a difficult decision.

2. RB Zach Zwinak. Teammates say he's an animal in the weight room, so it's no surprise he's the bruising running back of this offense. His style seems somewhat counter to Bill O'Brien's offensive style -- but Zwinak is more than efficient. He's almost never tackled in the backfield and, as long as he's 100 percent by Week 1, should play a huge role in this team's success.

3. CB/S Adrian Amos. He's versatile, and he's primed for a breakout season. He's the best athlete on the team, can play at multiple spots (including nickelback and returner), and he's the strength of this secondary. Offenses might end up having to game-plan around him.

Deion Barnes
Penn State's Deion Barnes, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, led the team with six sacks last season.
4. DE Deion Barnes. He led the team with six sacks last season but admitted he needed to improve his run defense. He focused on that this offseason, and he's now the top player on this defensive line. Big things are expected of Barnes, the B1G Freshman of the Year, and there are already whispers -- OK, more like loud chatter -- about his NFL potential.

5. TE Kyle Carter. Yes, he's injured right now. But he'll be fine once the season rolls around, and he'll almost certainly make the Mackey Award Watch List. He's a huge part of this offense, might just have the best hands on the team (Sorry, A-Rob) and leads one of the best tight end crews in the country.

6. LB Mike Hull. He's on everyone's breakout list. He was a big-play magnet last season, and he has an absurd blend of speed and strength. Yeah, yeah -- a lot of guys can say that, too. But not like Hull. He's so quick that PSU once tried him out at safety, and Hull said his 40 has been timed in the 4.5s. He also benches more than anyone else on the team, including 333-pound behemoth DaQuan Jones.

7. OG John Urschel. How many other football players can say they've had a research paper published? He brings those smarts to the field and has really taken on a leadership role this offseason. He made the All-Big Ten team last season and will likely do so again.

8. MLB Glenn Carson. Carson might not get the attention he deserves, but he's been so consistent for Penn State. He's not elite, but he's grown into a team leader and a solid 'backer. He'll be a three-year starter for PSU and is the most-experienced player on this defense.

9. OT Donovan Smith. NittanyNation has said this countless times but, if we had to pick one player to break out this season, it would be Smith. He's dripping with NFL potential and struggled with a few injuries last season. He made a big difference when he was in the game last year, and Urschel has taken him under his wing. If he can stay healthy, this should be the year Smith becomes a player for the conference to remember.

10. RB Akeel Lynch. Who improved their stock the most this offseason? That might just be Lynch, who was impressive in the Blue-White Game and will challenge Bill Belton for playing time. He's quick and elusive but just has to keep his pads down. O'Brien likes him a lot, so "Big Maple" could become a nice change of pace from Zwinak.