Four Penn State football newcomers crack ESPN’s ‘Instant Impact’ top 25 freshmen list

After cultivating the 8th best recruiting class according to 247Sports Over the past cycle, Penn State’s young core of true football freshmen is already receiving national recognition.

According to ESPN, four Nittany Lions rank in the top 25 freshmen in college football through the first five weeks of the season. The group, which includes Abdul Carter, Nick Singleton, Dani Dennis-Sutton and Kaytron Allen, gives Penn State the most athletes on the list by a margin of one player ahead of LSU.

Carter, who ranks as the highest-rated Nittany Lion athlete, was ranked second on the list compiled by analysts Tom Luginbill and Tom VanHaaren. With 18 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble in limited action thus far, both Luginbill and VanHaaren believe the Philadelphia native has the potential to transform into a high-profile NFL Draft prospect with the ability to give up his fourth season on Happy Valley.

Just behind Carter, former five-star running back Nick Singleton checked in at No. #3. The pair of writers identified the state’s other product as “the best thing to happen to Penn State since Saquon Barkley.” Through week five, Singleton’s 473 rushing yards rank third among all freshmen.

Rounding out the top 25, Dani Dennis-Sutton and Kaytron Allen placed 20th and 23rd, respectively. While Dennis-Sutton has primarily played in a rotating role through five matchups, the former top-tier pass-rusher has managed to light up the stat sheet.

Heading into the Nittany Lions’ bye week, Dennis-Sutton leads Penn State with three sacks and ranks second among all defenders in tackles for loss. As for Allen, the IMG Academy product is averaging 5.3 yards per carry as a potent power complement to Singleton’s speed-focused running style.

During Penn State’s week four fight with Central Michigan, Allen excelled in a bell-cow role by producing 111 rushing yards behind just 13 carries. If Allen continues on his steady path of improvement, Luginbill and VanHaaren believe Penn State could possess one of the best backfield one-two hits in the Big Ten.

Connor Krause is a junior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, double majoring in journalism and business. He is a longtime Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys supporting Pittsburgh sports teams. In his spare time, Connor can be found playing golf or basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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