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Penn State’s Nick Singleton shows he’s motivated for spring practice, 2024 season

Nick Singleton has spent spring break this week at home in Shillington, playing video games, watching television and resting, for good reason.

The former Gov. Mifflin star running back put on an astounding show last week in the Penn State weight room. He lifted 570 pounds five times in the back squat to the delight of teammates and drew the attention of hundreds of thousands viewers on social media.

“It felt good in the beginning,” he said, “but in the end it was kind of heavy. It was good. It brought a lot of energy.

“I always want to get stronger and translate it to the field. It’s also about building that team chemistry, pushing each other and trying to get bigger, faster, stronger.”

Singleton capped his impressive performance during the Nittany Lions’ winter training program with an exclamation point, adding 375 pounds in the bench press and 370 in the clean and jerk for good measure.

He showed that he’s ready for spring practice, which begins Tuesday, and ready to lead his teammates by example.

“I always want to be a leader,” he said. “I want to help my team win. If we’re down, I want to pick my team up and bring that energy to the field and help my team compete.”

Singleton also is motivated to help Penn State reach the newly expanded 12-team College Football Playoff this year and to show that he’s one of the top backs in the country.

After he rushed for 1,061 yards and was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2022, his rushing numbers slipped last season. He ran for 752 yards and 4.4 per carry (down from 6.8 as a freshman), yet he became a much more productive receiver.

He finished third in the Big Ten in all-purpose yards with 105.6 per game and seventh in touchdowns with 10. He was named to the all-conference third team. It’s not like he had a bad season; it was one that just didn’t meet the lofty expectations he created as a freshman.

“For sure,” he said, when asked whether last season lit a fire within him. “It always motivates me. I always try to find a way to get better. Last season was a learning process with how teams defended us. How you did your freshman year, they’re going to try different things.

“There were ups and downs, but it’s all learning. It motivates me to be better.”

Singleton finished last season in a flourish. In Penn State’s final three games against Rutgers, Michigan State and Ole Miss, he carried 37 times for 229 yards, a 6.2 average.

He was Penn State’s best offensive player against the Rebels in the Peach Bowl, gaining 147 all-purpose yards on just 13 touches and catching a touchdown pass and conversion pass.

The Lions return six starters on offense, including quarterback Drew Allar, and add two experienced transfers who were Pennsylvania high school stars, wide receiver Julian Fleming from Ohio State and tackle Nolan Rucci from Wisconsin.

They also have a new offensive coordinator in Andy Kotelnicki after coach James Franklin fired Mike Yurcich in November. Kotelnicki spent three seasons at Kansas, where the Jayhawks finished eighth in the nation in rushing last year, 17th in scoring and 21st in total offense.

Singleton likes what he sees and hears so far from Kotelnicki.

“Coach K is really good,” he said. “Everybody will tell you that he brings a lot of energy. He’s a really talkative person in a good way. Just from the plays he has, I’m really excited. The whole offense is. Everybody loves him.

“He’s been really good. He’s really easy to talk to. He can talk to you about anything. He’s a really open person.”

Singleton and classmate Kaytron Allen have combined to rush for 3,582 yards and 36 touchdowns in their first two seasons at Penn State. They hope Kotelnicki can bring them even more success.

“He’s a really good coach,” Singleton said. “He really put it out there that he’s giving the best players the ball. He’s trying to win.”

One outlet recently did not list Singleton or Allen among its top 10 returning running backs in college football, something that Penn State assistant coach Ja’Juan Seider made sure they saw.

“We’ve seen it,” Singleton said. “Coach Seider sent it to our group chat. All of it is motivation. We don’t mind that. We haven’t arrived yet. We just gotta keep working.”

The Lions’ spring work begins Tuesday with three new coordinators: Kotelnicki, former Indiana coach Tom Allen (defense) and Justin Lustig (special teams).

The way Singleton sounds, he might be the first player to arrive at practice.

“I’m just excited to get back on the field with my teammates and build chemistry,” he said. “I just want to keep getting better at everything. I just can’t wait.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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