Penn State and the NFL Combine: All-Time Nittany Lion Records, Big Ten Rankings and a Position-by-Position Breakdown – Statecollege.com

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Penn State defensive end Arnold Ebiketie attempts to block a Villanova field goal try during the Nittany Lions’ 38-17 win Sept. 25, 2021 at Beaver Stadium. Photo by Paul Burdick
Eight former Nittany Lion football players will take part in the 2022 NFL Combine that begins Tuesday in Indianapolis and runs — and jumps and lifts — through Sunday.
It’s a good time to dust off my Top 12 all-time listings of Penn State showings at the Combine, headed by former safety Trop Apke – among Penn Staters, he’s in the Top 12 in five of the seven main NFL drills, and rates among the Top 3 in four of them.
Former Penn State and current NFL studs Chris Godwin and Mike Gesicki are in my Penn State Top 12 in four different categories.
It is also a good time to update how PSU has fared vs. the rest of the Big Ten in sending players to the Combine in the James Franklin Era. (Spoiler alert: A strong third. Details below.)
You may find this surprising: In his nine years at Penn State, Franklin has had as many kickers as running backs — two each — invited to the Combine.
The 2022 Penn State contingent ties the 2018 group for the largest set of Nittany Lions who have earned invites to pro football’s annual job fair, which hosts 324 of the top draft-eligible college football players.
That 2018 Nittany Lion group featured Apke, Gesicki and Saquon Barkley; they coming off a two-year run of 22-5. This year’s group leaves behind a two-year finishing mark of 11-11.
Still, Penn State’s 2022 invitees are tied for sixth for the most representatives at the Combine, with some pretty heady company. College Football Playoff semi-finalists Michigan and Cincinnati are both sending eight former players, as are Ole Miss and Arizona State. National champion Georgia (14), Alabama (11), Oklahoma (11), LSU (9) and Texas A&M (9) round out the top 5.
Penn State had six invitees to the 2021 Combine, which was held virtually.
Apke’s success at the Combine in 2018 – which included a 4.34 40-yard dash — helped him increase his NFL Draft stock dramatically, as he was selected in the fourth round and No. 109 overall by Washington. He’s played in 48 of Washington’s last 49 games, and 50 overall.
The singularly best Combine performance by a Penn Stater in one event was achieved by Cameron Wake. Then known as Derek, his vertical jump of 45.5 inches in 2005 is No. 2 in NFL Combine history and is a mere half-inch behind the 46-inch mark set by North Carolina’s Gerald Sensabaugh.
PENN STATE VS. THE BIG TEN
For the nine-year period Franklin has been head coach at Penn State, he ranks third in the Big Ten Conference in number of players invited to the Combine. This covers the Combines from 2015 to 2022; the 2015 Combine is following the 2014 season, Franklin’s first at Penn State. Penn State’s 46 invitations are more than the number for Northwestern, Illinois, Rutgers and Purdue — combined.
1.) Ohio State — 69
2.) Michigan — 55
3.) PENN STATE — 46
4.) Iowa, Wisconsin — 34
6.) Michigan State — 33
7.) Nebraska — 25
8.) Indiana — 23
9.) Minnesota — 21
10.) Maryland — 19
11.) Northwestern — 14
12.) Illinois — 12
13.) Rutgers — 9
14.) Purdue — 7
POSITION BY POSITION, YEAR BY YEAR
Here’s the list of the 46 Nittany Lions who have been invited to the NFL Combine since Franklin has been head coach at Penn State. The 2015 Combine is following the 2014 season, Franklin’s first at Penn State.
Though Franklin, a former college quarterback, spent his football career as an assistant on the offensive side of the ball and concentrates more of his time there as a head coach, nearly 60% of his players invited to the Combine have been on the defensive side of the ball.
A total of 27 PSU defensive players (59%) have gone to the Combine in that time, with 11 on the defensive line, 10 in the secondary and 6 at linebacker.
There have been 17 PSU offensive players (47%) invited to the Combine from 2015 to 2022. By position: offensive linemen (6), wide receivers (4), tight ends (3), quarterbacks (2) and running backs (2).
In addition, two have been kickers — Sam Ficken and Jordan Stout.
2015 (5) — DB Adrian Amos, K Sam Ficken, LB Mike Hull, TE Jesse James, OL Donovan Smith
2016 (5) —QB Christian Hackenberg, DL Austin Johnson, DB Jordan Lucas, DL Carl Nassib, DL Anthony Zettel
2017 (2) — WR Chris Godwin, DL/LB Garrett Sickels
2018 (8) — DB Marcus Allen, DB Troy Apke, RB Saquon Barkley, LB Jason Cabinda, DB Christian Campbell, TE Mike Gesicki, DB Grant Haley, WR DaeSean Hamilton
2019 (7) — OL Ryan Bates, DL Kevin Givens, OL Connor McGovern, QB Trace McSorley, DL Shareef Miller, DB Amani Oruwariye, RB Miles Sanders
2020 (5) — LB Cam Brown, DL Yetur Gross-Matos, WR KJ Hamler, DB John Reid, DL Rob Windsor
2021 virtual (6) — TE Pat Freiermuth, OL Will Fries, OL Michal Menet, DL Odafe Oweh, LB Micah Parsons, DL Shaka Toney
2022 (8) — DB Jaquan Brisker, DB Tariq Castro-Fields, WR Jahan Dotson, DL Arnold Ebiketie, LB/DL Jesse Luketa, LB Brandon Smith, K/P Jordan Stout, OL Rasheed Walker 
PSU TOP 12 ALL-TIME AT THE COMBINE
Below are the Top 12 Combine results in each category recorded by Penn Staters since 1999, which I compiled using information on the NFL.com website.
The list does not include the 2021 Combine. It was held virtually (interviews, psychological testing), with no in-person workouts. No official Combine in-person workouts in 2021 prevented two of Penn State’s all-time top all-around athletes, Odafe Oweh and Micah Parsons, from qualifying for the lists below.
Odafe and Parsons did participate in a Pro Day on Penn State’s campus, for workouts that were attended by 31 of the 32 NFL teams (the Rams were MIA). A number of their times and scores that day would have cracked the all-time Combine list; I include at the end of each of each category. But, just as in previous years, my list is for Combine performances only, where the pressure is higher, the competition tougher and the uniformity from year to year is guaranteed.
40-YARD DASH (seconds)
1. Justin King (2008), 4.31
2. Troy Apke (2018), 4.34
3. Deon Butler (2009), 4.38
4. Saquon Barkley (2018), 4.40
5. Chaz Powell (2012), Chris Godwin (2017), 4.42
7. Grant Haley (2018), 4.44
8. Rich Gardner (2004), Derek Moye (2012), 4.46
10. Amani Oruwariye (2019), 4.47
11. Lydell Sargeant (2009), Miles Sanders (2019), John Reid (2020), 4.49
2021 Pro Day: Odafe Oweh, 4.36; Micah Parsons, 4.39
BENCH PRESS (reps of 225 lbs.)
1. A.Q. Shipley (2009), 33
2. Kevin Givens (2019), 32
3. Levi Brown (2007), Johnnie Troutman (2012), Mike Hull (2015), 31
6. Stefen Wisniewski (2011), John Urschel (2014), 30
8. Saquon Barkley (2018), 29
9. Jordan Hill (2013), Michael Mauti (2013), Anthony Zettel (2016), Ryan Bates (2019), Connor McGovern (2019), 28
VERTICAL LEAP (inches)
1. Cameron Wake (2005), 45.5
2. Mike Gesicki (2018), 41.5
3. Troy Apke (2018), Saquon Barkley (2018), 41
5. Chris Harrell (2006), 40.5
6. Omar Easy (2002), 40
7. Allen Robinson (2014), 39
8. Aaron Maybin (2009), 38
9. David Macklin (2000), Sean Lee (2010), Jesse James (2015), 37.5
12. Amani Oruwariye (2019), John Reid (2020), 36.5
2021 Pro Day: Odafe Oweh, 39.5; Shaka Toney, 39
BROAD JUMP (inches)
1. Troy Apke (2018), 131
2. Cameron Wake (2005), 130
3. Mike Gesicki (2018), John Reid (2020), 129
5. Justin King (2008), Allen Robinson (2014), 127
7. Chris Godwin (2017), 126
8. Aaron Maybin (2009), Miles Sanders (2019), 124
10. Omar Easy (2002), Rich Gardner (2004), Cam Brown (2020), 123
2021 Pro Day: Odafe Oweh, 134; Shaka Toney, 128; Micah Parsons, 126
20-YARD SHUTTLE (seconds)
1. Rich Gardner (2004), 3.92
2. Grant Haley (2018), 3.94
3. John Reid (2020), 3.97
4. Allen Robinson (2014), Chris Godwin (2017), 4.00
6. Adrian Amos (2015), Troy Apke (2018), 4.03
8. Joe Nastasi (1999), 4.06
9. Josh Hull (2010), 4.07
10. David Macklin (2000), 4.09
11. Justin Kurpeikis (2001), Mike Gesicki (2018), 4.10
THREE-CONE DRILL (seconds)
1. Grant Haley (2018), 6.51
2. Troy Apke (2018), 6.56
3. Mike Gesicki (2018), 6.76
4. Justin Kurpeikis (2001), Amani Oruwariye (2019), 6.82
6. Chaz Powell (2012), Nathan Stupar (2012), DaeSean Hamilton (2018), 6.84
9. Josh Hull (2010), 6.86
10. Miles Sanders (2019), 6.89
11. David Macklin (2000), 6.90
12. Rich Gardner (2004), NaVorro Bowman (2010), 6.91
2021 Pro Day: Odafe Oweh, 6.83; Micah Parsons, 6.89
60-YARD SHUTTLE
1. Chris Godwin (2017), 11.21
2. Adrian Amos (2015), Mike Gesicki (2018), 11.33
4. Mike Hull (2015), 11.52
5. Jesse James (2015), 12.15
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