Blue White Roundtable: Alabama Week Edition
September 7, 2011 – | 1 Comment

Once again, it’s Adam Collyer over at BlackShoeDiaries providing the questions, and we, your humble bloggers, providing the answers. Mine are below, and you can venture off to the remote areas of the blogosphere that …

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Counting Down the Lions: #14

Submitted by on August 29, 20092 Comments

In joining Charlie’s Top PSU moments, we’ve added another daily countdown feature here at quebecpenspinning. We’ll be measuring up the 50 most important players to Penn State’s success in the 2009 season. You may have noticed that we’ve slacked off a little lately, but expect a few double 15doses of Counting Down the Lions until we’re all caught up.

Checking in at #14 is a receiver who will try and live up to his reputation as an internet sensation with his play on the field: Graham Zug.

Number: 5
Position: Wide Receiver
Class: Redshirt Junior
Height: 6’2
Weight: 183
Hometown: Manheim, PA
How’d He Get Here: Zug was a standout player back in high school, putting up ridiculous numbers at the wide receiver position.  As a junior, Zug had 51 catches for 799 yards and 13 touchdowns, mixing in a 78 tackle, 6 interception campaign on defense.  Yet, he dwarfed those numbers the very next year, with a 78-catch, 1268-yard, 22-touchdown season on offense, and 9 interceptions on defense.  Named to the first-team All-State at the AAA level, and as his conference player of the year, Zug nonetheless received few offers from any major program.  Rather than take a scholarship to a D1-FCS school, Zug chose to walk on at Penn State, though he has since received a scholarship.
2008 Results: Stuck behind the wide receiving trio of Williams, Butler, and Norwood, there simply weren’t enough catches to go around for the rotational players like Graham Zug.  Playing in all 13 games, and starting in 3 of them, Zug, caught 11 balls, 5th among Nittany Lion wideouts, for 174 yards and two touchdowns.  One of those 11, though was among the defining moments in the 2008 season for Penn State, a 50 yard recept during the Ohio State game that set up the game-tying field goal.
What to Expect in 2009: When you talk about replacing Penn State’s departed wide receiving corps, Zug’s name is one of the first that comes up.  Almost assuredly a starter, Zug will most likely be asked to fill Jordan Norwood’s role.  That’s going over the middle to make the tough catch, and snagging just about anything that comes his way.  He’s got more height than Norwood–4 inches–which could make him just as valuable as a possession receiver, though it’s unlikely he’ll be able to run routes with the remarkable precision Norwood had.  Expect Zug to lead the team in catches, if he can stay healthy, though perhaps not in touchdowns or yards.
Random Fact: It’s BlackShoeDiaries that simply can’t get enough Graham Zug, and I have no idea why.  As far as real facts go: Graham’s got a sister, Daneen, on the PSU field hockey team.  Also, he was named the recipient of the 2009 Red Worrell Award at halftime of the Blue/White Game, for the most improved offensive player on the Lions.
The Final Word: Another former walk-on.  Seems like we’ve had more than our fair share of these guys in our countdown.  At least in Zug’s case, it certainly wasn’t from lack of production back in high school.  With departing seniors comes new roles for the younger players, and it’ll be interesting, to say the least, to see how Zug is able to transition from 4th on the depth chart at wide receiver to 1st or 2nd.  He’s looked good when on the field–he even had a strong performance at the Blue/White Game working with the first team offense (4 catches, 62 yards, and a TD).  Plus, he’s got great hands just like the man he’ll be asked to “replace” in Norwood.  Still, the fact is you never know what you’re going to get with players who become starters overnight.  On the other hand, Joe Paterno seems to have taken a liking to Zug, and I trust JoePa’s instincts a hell of a lot more than my own.  Zug should be a consistent receiver for the Nittany Lions over the next two years, and he’s one of the main reasons I’m not that concerned about the passing game this year.

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