Penn State's offensive line in recent years has been widely regarded as a weak spot on the team. That was not quite the same story this year, for the most part. Struggles in the passing game and red-zone offense in general may have overshadowed an improved year in the trenches by the offensive line. One of the underrated players on that line was Johnnie Troutman.
Troutman was a steady performer this season and while he may not be the next Stefen Wisniewski, he will be guard that will be tough to replace. The fifth year senior will play in the Senior Bowl this season and have a chance to show his skills against some of the best in the nation.
Looking to plug the hole at left guard next year could be Mark Arcidiacono or Eric Shrive. Penn State will also have to replace DeOn'tae Pannel at the other guard position as well. Both tackle positions will also need new starters in 2012.
Linebacker Nate Stupar
Stupar picked up the slack this season in the absence of Michael Mauti, and he is another one of those solid, hard-working linebackers that Penn State always seems to have. He did most of his talking on the field with his tackling and while he may not have been as talented all-around as Mauti, his upper class man influence will be just another loss to the team, especially on defense.
But this is the reality of college sports. Players know they will lave in time and it will be up to the underclassmen to carry the banner for the next class and team. Penn State, and every other college football program, will always have new players emerge as the leaders of a team.
Kevin McGuire is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and add him to your Google+ circle.