PSU legend LaVar Arrington pushes current players to strive for excellence: 'If you're at Penn State, you're elite'
Expectations at Penn State entering the 2020 are through the roof. That’s not uncommon for a program with a tradition of excellence, but the stakes seem even higher for the Nittany Lions this fall.
Coming off an 11-2 season in 2019, Penn State has a returning starter at quarterback, a loaded running back room, the best defensive player in college football and a plethora of extraordinary defensive ends. There’s more than enough for PSU to clear the Ohio State hurdle like it did in 2016 and compete for a national championship.
To provide some words of encouragement ahead of the season, Penn State legend LaVar Arrington spoke with members of the 2020 team.
“You’re all elite guys,” Arrington said, according to 247Sports. “If you’re at Penn State, you’re elite.”
Arrington was a star in Happy Valley on some pretty good Penn State teams. From 1997 through 1999, the Nittany Lions posted a 28-9 record, went 2-1 in bowl games and finished ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 every year. Arrington was a two-time All-American during his career, as well.
Now, the legend in State College is urging current players to give an All-American effort this year.
“All of ya’ll (can) be All-Big Ten, all of ya’ll strive to be All-Americans,” he said. “If you get on the field, give an All-American effort. If you get an opportunity in practice, give an All-Big Ten effort. … One thing that all the greats do — they practice like greats, they study like greats, therefore they play like greats.”
Penn State had surged as one of the B1G’s elite programs over the last four seasons. Since 2016, the Nittany Lions have hit the 11-win mark three times, played in three New Year’s Six bowl games and won a total of 42 games.
With so much returning talent after an 11-win season in 2019, Penn State is the biggest challenger to Ohio State in the B1G East. A victory over the Buckeyes would greatly aid the Lions’ pursuit of a second B1G title under James Franklin and their first appearance in the College Football Playoff.