No. 8 greatest player of Joe Paterno era: Curt Warner (1979-82)
- Career rushing yards: 3,398
- Career rushing touchdowns: 24
- Career scrimmage yards: 4,060
Warner ended his career at Penn State with 177 yards and two touchdowns in the 1983 Sugar Bowl. He outplayed Herschel Walker and led the Nittany Lions to the first national championship of the Joe Paterno era and the first since 1912.
That season, Warner ran for 1,041 yards and eight touchdowns, his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season and third straight year with 1,000+ scrimmage yards.
The NFL took notice of his final season specifically his final game against Walker. While Walker signed with the USFL, Warner became the third overall pick in the NFL draft, behind future hall-of-famers John Elway and Eric Dickerson.