Penn State Nittany Lions: A.Q. Shipley

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- We've reached Day 2 of this week's countdown, which is ranking Penn State's most-impactful recruiting classes of the past decade.

Up next is the class with big names, bigger surprises and even bigger offensive linemen ...

No. 4 most-impactful class: Class of 2004

[+] EnlargeDan Connor
A. Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesDan Connor won the Bednarik Award at Penn State and was the foundation of one of the Nittany Lions' best LB corps.
Top prospects: OT Gerald Cadogan, LB Dan Connor, DB Tony Davis, DE Josh Gaines, QB Anthony Morelli, WR Jordan Norwood, OG Rich Ohrnberger, WR/S Mark Rubin, LB Tyrell Sales, C A.Q. Shipley

Biggest surprise: Norwood. Most recruiting services didn't even bother to rate him -- listed him at one star -- because expectations were so low because of his 5-foot-8, 143-pound frame. He had no other FBS offers, and many believed he only received a scholarship at Penn State because his father was on staff. Still, he proved everyone wrong by making the most out of his talent after a grayshirt season. He was a terrific route-runner who finished with at least 32 catches in four consecutive seasons, and he remains in the record books for career receptions (currently No. 5 on the list with 158 catches). He also had 2,015 yards and 13 touchdowns in his career.

Impact player: Connor. He was a three-year starter who won the Bednarik Award as a senior. He kept the tradition of "Linebacker U" alive and finished his career with the most tackles (334) by a Nittany Lion. He was also part of one of the Lions' most dominant linebacker groups in school history, one that also featured Paul Posluszny and Sean Lee. The Big Ten Network listed him as the conference's fifth-best linebacker from 2000 to 2010.

Why the class is important: This is the class that built Penn State's offensive line. Ohrnberger, Cadogan and Shipley each earned spots on the All-Big Ten team and each became a three-year starter. Shipley was an All-American who earned the Rimington Trophy as a senior.

However, there were plenty of other players in this class who didn't earn national recognition but still contributed greatly to PSU. Davis and Gaines were both solid three-year starters for the Lions. Rubin played 26 games after moving to safety. Sales was a two-year starter at linebacker. And then there was Morelli. The quarterback never quite lived up to lofty expectations, but he still helped lift PSU to victories in the Outback and Alamo bowls.

More impactful recruiting classes:

No. 5: Class of 2011

Big day for PSU on the awards circuit

December, 3, 2012
Two of Penn State's offensive seniors and head coach Bill O'Brien received national honors Monday.

[+] EnlargeMatt McGloin
AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarMatt McGloin won the Burlsworth Trophy, honoring the best player who started his career as a walk-on.
O'Brien became one of nine finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, and center Matt Stankiewitch was named one of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy. Quarterback Matt McGloin moved past the finalist lists and was handed the 40-pound Burlsworth Trophy during a ceremony Monday, given to the nation's best player who started his career as a walk-on.

O'Brien, unanimously named Big Ten Coach of the Year by the coaches and media, joins Ohio State coach Urban Meyer as finalists from the Big Ten. The other coaching finalists include Utah State's Gary Andersen, N.C. State's Dave Doeren (who coached NIU this season), Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, Florida's Will Muschamp, Stanford's David Shaw, Kansas State's Bill Snyder and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin.

The winner will be announced Dec. 13.

Stankiewitch is the lone center representing the Big Ten. He's joined by fellow finalists Mario Benavides (Louisville), Braxston Cave (Notre Dame), Dalton Freeman (Clemson), Khaled Holmes (USC) and Barrett Jones (Alabama).

The winner will be announced Thursday on ESPNU. The last Penn State player to win the award was A.Q. Shipley in 2008.

"It's a great honor to be a finalist for the Rimington Trophy," Stankiewitch said.

McGloin, dressed in a suit and green tie, accepted the large Burlsworth Trophy -- 15 pounds heavier than the Heisman -- by beating out San Jose State offensive tackle David Quessenberry and Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs.

Nittany Lions in the NFL: AFC offense

August, 22, 2012
RaidersKirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireStefen Wisniewski (right) made quite an impression during his first season with the Oakland Raiders, starting every game and making Pro Football Weekly's All-Rookie Team.
NittanyNation takes a look at every Penn State player currently playing in the NFL -- where they are, what their role is and what their careers have looked like.

NittanyNation will look at offensive AFC players this morning and offensive NFC players this afternoon:

Pat Devlin, QB, Miami Dolphins
Height/weight/age: 6-3/225/24
Role: Third-string
PSU career: Devlin transferred to the University of Delaware after his redshirt sophomore season prior to the 2009 Rose Bowl. He passed for 459 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in his role as Daryll Clark's backup in 2008.
NFL career: Went undrafted in 2011 and hasn't yet attempted a career pass.He finished 13-of-20 for 118 yards with one touchdown and one interception against Carolina in Week 2 of the preseason.

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