Penn State's Drew Allar, Nicholas Singleton Draw National Praise

Allar is projected as a Heisman Trophy finalist; Singleton named one of college football's top running backs.
Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar (15) congratulates running back Nicholas Singleton after Singleton scored a touchdown in a 2023 game against Indiana.
Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar (15) congratulates running back Nicholas Singleton after Singleton scored a touchdown in a 2023 game against Indiana. / Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Two of Penn State's leading offensive talents are generating some serious preseason buzz. Quarterback Drew Allar made one list as a potential Heisman finalist, while running back Nicholas Singleton is considered among the nation's top-10 running backs heading into 2024.

Walter Football, which goes deep on NFL Draft prospects and forecasts, projects Allar as a finalist for the 2024 Heisman Trophy. Allar, a junior who enters his second season as Penn State's starter, joins a projected list composed entirely of quarterbacks: Georgia's Carson Beck, Texas' Quinn Ewers, Colorado's Shedeur Sanders and predicted winner Jalen Milroe of Alabama.

"There is no doubt that Allar has a powerful arm and the potential to be a dangerous pocket passer," Walter Football's Charlie Campbell writes. "Allar (6-5, 243) has a lot of talent, but he may not have enough talent around him to push him to Heisman status."

Allar has become something of a preseason darling. The Associated Press' Ralph Russo projected the Penn State junior as a first-round pick in the 2025 NFL Draft, linking him with the New York Jets. Meanwhile, Walter Football ranks Allar as the No. 4 overall quarterback in the 2025 draft class — assuming Allar enters the draft, of course.

Andy Kotelnicki, Penn State's offensive coordinator, has spent the past six months getting to know his new quarterback. Kotelnicki said he has seen signs that Allar could have a big season.

"When you look at college football players, when you look at people that age, having a true hunger and willingness to want to improve and do everything right and do everything to maximize his college football experience, Drew embodies that," Kotelnicki said. "It's not like that for every kid. I've coached long enough now that I can say that with quite a bit of knowledge. So first of all, he's got an insatiable hunger to improve in every area that we've talked about."

Singleton, meanwhile, enters the season as the sixth-ranked back nationally, according to Ric Serritella's All Access Football newsletter. Serritella, who founded the NFL Draft Bible and developed a scouting platform used by all 32 NFL teams, ranked Singleton behind only North Carolina's Omarion Hampton, Michigan's Donovan Edwards, Ohio State's TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins and Oklahoma State's Ollie Gordon on his preseason list of college football's top running backs.

"A gritty, hard-nosed runner, Penn State back Nicholas Singleton flies under the radar for the Nittany Lions," Serritella writes in his newsletter. "He demonstrates physicality to gain the tough between the tackles yardage but also has the shake and bake required to cut it outside for big gains. The Reading, PA native is a high-powered locomotive who should become a well-known commodity by time draft season rolls around." 

Singleton, a junior, enters the 2024 season with relatively fresh legs, having not topped 171 carries in either of his first two seasons. He has teamed with fellow back Kaytron Allen (No. 16 on Serritella's list) to form one of the nation's best, and freshest, combinations. Penn State running backs coach Ja'Juan Seider said the next step for his tandem backs is to "win those games when it's close for us."

"And we've got to allow them to do it for us, too," Seider said, "because they're talented enough to take over a game. People say I'm just biased, but I think they are the best two running backs in the country, and if you feed them enough, good things are going to happen."

More Penn State Football

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Offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki sees growth from freshman quarterback Ethan Grunkemeyer

AllPennState is the place for Penn State news, opinion and perspective on the SI.com network. Publisher Mark Wogenrich has covered Penn State for more than 20 years, tracking three coaching staffs, three Big Ten titles and a catalog of great stories. Follow him on X (or Twitter) @MarkWogenrich.


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Mark Wogenrich

MARK WOGENRICH

Mark Wogenrich is Editor and Publisher of AllPennState, the site for Penn State news on SI's FanNation Network. He has covered Penn State sports for more than two decades across three coaching staffs and three Rose Bowls.