Practices began last weekend for the 2011 Nittany Lion squad, scheduled to play its annual Spring Game on Saturday, April 16. This season marks the 125 anniversary of Penn State football, and Joe Paterno’s 46th as head coach.
Forty-two letterwinners and 16 starters return for PSU in 2011 (7 offense, 8 defense, 1 specialist), as well as 17 players that have starting experience.
With all of the changes to the Big 10, this season will be somewhat different than previous ones. Nebraska officially joins the league on July 1, and brings the Big 10 to an even dozen teams. Starting this fall there will be two divisions: Leaders and Legends. The Nittany Lions are in the Leaders Division with Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin. They will play their division opponents every season, as well as crossover opponent Nebraska. Penn State will play two other teams from the Legends Division each year, with Iowa and Northwestern set for 2011 and 2012.
Penn State’s 2012 recruiting class received a major boost last week. According to the Altoona Mirror, Anthony Stanko, a 6-foot-4, 297-pound offensive lineman from Howland High School (Ohio) - committed to Penn State during an unofficial visit on Saturday night. He was considered by many scouting sites to be the top lineman in the state.
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Written by Stephanie Geosits