Penn State Football: 15 best running backs in Nittany Lions history

Saquon Barkley, Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images)
Saquon Barkley, Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images) /
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Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Lenny Moore may be better known for being the do-it-all halfback for the then-Baltimore Colts in the NFL. Moore was certainly ahead of his time as an elite runner of the football and a pass catcher out of the backfield. But before he was a Pro Football Hall of Famer with the Colts, we was a legend with the Nittany Lions at Penn State.

Moore played at Penn State in the early 1950s. Dubbed “The Reading Rocket” coming out of high school, Moore would become one of the most efficient players during his three years playing varsity ball for the Nittany Lions. He had at least 100 carries for 600 yards and five rushing touchdowns in his three years starring for Penn State.

Moore was a two-time All-American at Penn State in 1954 and 1955. In 1954, he rushed for 1,074 yards on 136 carries for 11 touchdowns. A year later, Moore had 697 rushing yards on 138 carries for five touchdowns. In total, Moore had 382 carries for 2,372 yards and 24 rushing touchdowns. Keep in mind he did this in just 27 games at Penn State. Incredible.

Admittedly, it was a different era for Penn State Football in the 1950s. Joe Paterno wouldn’t be named head coach until the next decade. This was also a time when multiple running backs were used as primary focal points of the offense, meaning bell-cows were harder to come by.

Still, Moore parlayed his time at Penn State into an outstanding NFL career in Baltimore. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler, a seven-time All-Pro and a two-time NFL champion with the Colts. Moore spent his entire 12-year NFL career in Baltimore, retiring in 1967. He would earn enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the Class of 1975.

Though he may never be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, Moore is a football legend at Penn State, as he is likely seen as the star tailback that paved the way for this program to claim the title of RBU. Well ahead of his time, Moore may very well be the prototype for dual-threat backs that changed the NFL game like Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk and LaDainian Tomlinson after him.