Ah, the "Supa Six."
Anyone who gleans the realm of college football may not recognize this group of youngsters, but to the Penn State football program, it represents so much.
However, to describe the embodiment of this clan, only one word is needed: future.
The "Supa Six"—a name that started behind closed doors and progressively took Happy Valley by storm—consists of half a dozen second-year Nittany Lions who have made quite the impact in 2012: Allen Robinson, Deion Barnes, Donovan Smith, Kyle Carter, Adrian Amos and Bill Belton.
Let's take a quick look at how these six figures have made their indelible mark on this historic season.
Robinson, who had just three catches coming into this year, stepped up at wideout, filled in for graduated Derek Moye and departed Justin Brown and thrust his name into the Biletnikoff Award discussion. The sophomore from Michigan finished the year with 77 receptions, 1,018 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Smith used his colossal frame (6'5", 316 lbs) to provide a reliable presence on an offensive line that did well to protect Matthew McGloin and open running lanes all season for guys like Belton.
Belton, who came into 2012 with the most in-game experience after operating Penn State's Wildcat offense last year, showcased his quickness and shiftiness at running back this year.
With guys like Michael Mauti and Jordan Hill expected to lead the defense, Barnes starred at defensive end, and Amos used his athleticism to lock down opposing receivers.
And finally, Carter took advantage of O'Brien's offensive scheme and put up impressive numbers (36 receptions, 453 yards and two touchdowns) at tight end despite missing the last two games of the year.
In terms of accolades, Robinson and Carter made the All-Big Ten first team, and Amos received an honorable mention nod, along with Barnes. Barnes, who redshirted last year, also won Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
So given the success the "Supa Six" has had, will they take advantage of the extra chance in the offseason to transfer to a school that has the chance to win a national title?
Whether Penn State fans like it or not, some Lions might leave for different programs this offseason.
However, the core of the "Supa Six" is going to stay, in my opinion.
When looking at Belton's situation, it wouldn't be surprising if he transferred. After putting together a 103-yard, three-touchdown performance at Iowa, he seemed to have found O'Brien's doghouse.
And with Zach Zwinak (who was also a sophomore this year) having a 1,000-yard season, it wouldn't be a shocker if Belton left due to playing-time issues.
Regardless, every other member of the group seems safe for now, and the main reason is the expected return of O'Brien.
Although the formerly criticized/now beloved head coach refused to give a solid answer to NFL questions in the past few press conferences, O'Brien indirectly silenced those inquiries on Tuesday.
Not only did O'Brien win Big Ten Coach of the Year, but his agent, Joe Linta, also told ESPN that the former Patriots offensive coordinator is committed to Penn State.
"(O'Brien) is staying, and we've had no conversations with anyone else," Linta said. "In fact, he's leaving at 6 in the morning tomorrow to go out on the recruiting trail."
After being peppered all season with transfer questions, Barnes continued to express his commitment to Penn State.
According to senior defensive back Stephon Morris, Amos has told him he will be back for the 2013 season.
And for Carter and Robinson, why would they leave when they've become such integral, successful and well-known cogs in a proven high-powered offense?
Bottom line, Belton may leave because of Zwinak's emergence, but the majority of the "Supa Six"— and the Lions' future—should stay intact throughout the summer.
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