With Penn State nearing the changing of the guard at the head coach position at some point in the future the time to look at the state of the program is now. To get an idea of where the program is heading over the next few years, fans will be looking at the most important names in the program, wondering how Penn State will one day find a successor for Joe Paterno, who enters the final year of his contract.
Could it be a member of the current coaching staff? Perhaps. There are certainly a couple of names worth keeping an eye on already on the Penn State sideline, but if Penn State's recent basketball coaching search is any indication, there may not be a problem looking outside of the family for a new head coach.
And what about the players on the field? With some young up-and-coming players on the roster and a mix of some veteran leaders on both sides of the ball, Penn State has some key players ready to make an impact.
Here is a look at 14 figures involved with the program and what kind of impact they have moving forward.