UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) -Last Saturday, Beaver Stadium thanked nearly 30 Penn State football seniors, a group who’s career came during one of the most challenging era of college athletics — the COVID-19 era.
While an extra year of eligibility muddies the future for some, for many it was their goodbye to Beaver Stadium.
“It’s something I thought about coming into this game,” said Jordan Stout, a senior punter. “If this was my last time, than i wanted it to be perfect and I wasn’t quite there, but I was pretty close in the beginning. I just try to go out and do my best, and it’s what I did.”
Stout down six punts inside the 20 in what may have been his final game at home.
Stout is one of nearly 30 seniors in this year’s class that — if nothing else — left their mark in the record books. Sean Clifford will graduate among the career passing leaders. Jahan Dotson is among the career receiving leaders. His 242 yards against Maryland sent a single game Penn state record…
But come April, the highest drafted player from the class will likely be safety Jaquan Brisker.
“Pregame was a little emotional,” said Brisker. “I couldn’t believe it was my last time walking on here on the field. It came fast.”
The group’s most productive season came in 2019 when Penn State won 11 games, capped off by a Cotton bowl victory over Memphis.
But Jonathan Sutherland says it’s what happens in between games, the day-to-day life with this family he will miss the most.
“I would just say practice,” said Sutherland. “Being with my guys, having fun during practice, bonding, cracking jokes. Those time i look back at and those are definitely the times I will miss the most, for sure.”
Only time will tell how this season is remembered, but the road win over Wisconsin in the opener and Whiteout win over Auburn are arguably the class’s two biggest wins.
This class helped lead Penn State to a top-5 ranking, but the season was never the same after Sean Clifford’s injury. Clifford, along with guys like Stout and P.J. Mustipher now face decisions to whether or not to come back for their extra “COVID year” of eligibility.
“For me, I’m not going to put any pressure on myself,” said Stout. “I’m going to feel it out as the season goes on. We still have a lot go do, we have one more game after this, we have a bowl game. I’m not putting pressure on myself, I’m just going to go out and have a good time.”