Penn State Football: Akeel Lynch Will Give Nittany Lions Best Backfield in B1G

Barry LeonardAnalyst IIIMay 2, 2013

Apr 20, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Akeel Lynch (22) runs the ball in the third quarter of the Blue White spring game at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State redshirt freshman Akeel Lynch earned praise from the coaches during spring practice. Aside from looking strong in practices, he posted a solid performance in the annual Blue-White game. Lynch joins 2012 starters Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton to give Penn State the best backfield in the Big Ten.

While there are questions surrounding the quarterback position in Happy Valley, the Nittany Lions will boast a talented group of running backs who all have a different skill set for the 2013 season.

Belton began last year as the starting running back, but struggled with an injury and inconsistent play that eventually cost him the job.

Though his numbers were not good, he's still a talented playmaker who'll bring value to the offense, especially in the passing game. He's a speed guy who can turn a small play into a big gain.

Zwinak filled in while Belton was out and had an excellent season, finishing with 1,000 yards rushing and six touchdowns. He is currently dealing with a wrist injury but is expected to be back practicing before the start of the season.

He's a hard-nosed runner with a surprising burst of speed.

With both Zwinak and Belton returning for 2013, the Nittany Lions already had a lot of talent in the backfield. The emergence of Lynch will only add to that.

Lynch, who was a 3-star recruit last year according to, spent his redshirt year learning the offense. He brings a third option out of the backfield that will make the Penn State rushing attack difficult to defend.

He's a well-built back with good speed and sharp moves.

During his senior year of high school, Lynch put up huge numbers, rushing for 2.136 yards and 25 touchdowns. He averaged just under 10 yards per carry.

Fans got their first look at Lynch during the spring game. He looked very impressive, rushing for 83 yards and a touchdown.

The Nittany Lions now have a three-pronged rushing attack that will make things difficult for opposing defenses. That bodes well for whoever starts at quarterback, as defenses will have to worry about the rushing attack.

Lynch adds talent to an already good backfield, giving Penn State the best group of running backs in the Big Ten Conference.