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) /
8 of 16
Evan Royster, Penn State Nittany Lions
Evan Royster, Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /

Evan Royster may have been a bit underrecruited coming out of high school in his native Virginia. He may not have had all that fruitful of an NFL career. But when it comes to greatness on the college gridiron at Penn State, Royster is a legendary running back in terms of production for the Nittany Lions.

After redshirted in 2006, Royster became a reliable rotational back as a redshirt freshman in 2007. He rushed for 513 yards on 82 carries for five touchdowns. Over 500 yards as a first-year player is pretty impressive, but that pales in comparison to what Royster did in his final three campaigns in State College.

From 2008 to 2010, Royster had roughly 200 carries for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns each season. As a redshirt sophomore in 2008, he would be named Second-Team All-Big Ten, as the Nittany Lions won the conference championship. He rushed for 1,236 yards and 12 touchdowns, both career highs, on 191 carries.

Royster backed up that breakout 2008 campaign with 1,169 yards in 2009 and 1,014 yards in 2010. In 50 career games with the Nittany Lions, Royster amassed 3,392 rushing yards on 686 carries for 29 touchdowns.

He is the school’s all-time leading rusher, second to only Saquon Barkley in yards from scrimmage and firmly in the top 10 in rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns. Not bad for a guy who had to redshirt his first year out of high school.

To some, having Royster coming in at No. 9 seems too low. He has more rushing yards than an Nittany Lion ever. That being said, he doesn’t have the single season where he truly asserted himself as a star player, or the NFL career for that matter, to catapult him higher up. His overall body of work at Penn State is undeniable and absolutely worth him cracking the top 10.