Ranking the 10 Best Players to Ever Play for Penn State Coach Joe Paterno

Brian Jones@Brian_L_JonesContributor IJanuary 22, 2012

Ranking the 10 Best Players to Ever Play for Penn State Coach Joe Paterno

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    Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno is a legend, no matter what anybody says.

    Even though his career ended in controversy, he has won a lot of games and coached a lot of great players.

    Speaking of great players, there have been a lot of them to play in Happy Valley, and if you were to ask their thoughts of Joe Pa, they would probably all say that he was a great coach and that they were happy they had the opportunity to play for a guy that looked out for you on and off the field.

    This was not easy, and I know some of you won't agree, but here's my ranking on the 10 best players to play for Paterno.

No. 10: Matt Millen

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    Most people know Matt Millen as a great NFL linebacker and announcer. But he was also a great defensive tackle for Paterno.

    Millen was an All-American defensive tackle in 1978, which led to him being a second-round pick in the 1980 NFL Draft.

    He went on to play in the NFL for 12 seasons and won four Super Bowls with the Oakland Raiders, San Fransicso 49ers and the Washington Redskins.

No. 9: Jack Ham

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    Jack Ham was just a football player and was very good at it.

    In 1970, Ham had 91 tackles, four interceptions and was named an All-American.

    He went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 12 years, where he was a four-time Super Bowl Champion and named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time team.

    He was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.

No. 8: Lenny Moore

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    Lenny More played for Penn State from 1953-1955, and he along with Jim Brown were considered the better running backs in all of college football at the time.

    He went on to have more success in the NFL, as he went to the Pro Bowl seven times and was named to the 1950s All-Decade team.

    His Baltimore Colts No. 24 jersey has been retired, and he was an honorary captain for the Penn State-Syracuse game in 2009, the first Penn State player to participate in the pre-game coin flip.

No. 7: Franco Harris

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    Franco Harris was a lead blocker for All-American Lydell Mitchell, but he did lead the team in scoring in 1970 and tallied over 2,000 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns.

    Harris went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was a four-time Super Bowl champion and a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, and he was named to the 1970 All-Decade Team.

    In 1999, Sporting News ranked Harris No. 83 in the 100 Greatest Football Players list.

No. 6: Keith Dorney

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    Keith Dorney played for Paterno from 1975 to 1978. During his time at Happy Valley, he was a two-time All-American and led the Nittany Lions to a 22-2 record from 1977 to 1978.

    He went on to play for the Detroit Lions from 1979-1987 and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl in 1982.

    For his efforts at Penn State, he was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005 .

No. 5: John Cappelletti

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    Winning the Heisman will get you on the list. But when Paterno said that John Cappelletti was the best player he ever coached, there's no doubt he will get on the list.

    Cappellitti won the Heisman in 1973, rushing for over 1,500 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns. He also won the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Award and the UPI Player of the Year.

    Cappellitti went on to play in the NFL from 1974 and 1983 and was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

No. 4: Glenn Ressler

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    Like Dorney, Ressler was another great offensive lineman to play for Joe Pa. He played for Penn State during the 1960s and was a two-time All-American. He also won the Maxwell Award in 1964 and was inducted in to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

    He played in the NFL as well, playing for the Baltimore Colts from 1965-1974.

No. 3: Curt Warner

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    If it wasn't for Herschel Walker, Curt Warner would have been the best college during the early 1980s. Warner was an All-American in 1981 and 1982,  and he also helped the Nittany Lions win the national title in 1982.

    When Warner left Penn State, he was the all-time leading rusher with 3,398 yards. Warner was inducted in the the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

No. 2: LaVar Arrington

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    Penn State is known for producing great linebackers, and LaVar Arrington could be considered the best linebacker to play for Paterno and company.

    Arrington was a two-time All-American in 1998 and 1999. Also in 1999, Arrington won the Butkus Award and the Bednarik Award for being the nation's top linebacker and the nation's top defensive player.

    He also won the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1998.

    Arrington went on to play for the Washington Redskins, where he was an All-Pro selection in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

No. 1: Ted Kwalick

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    Even though Ted Kwalick was a tight end, Paterno said, "He's what God had in mind when he made a football player."

    Kwalick was Penn State first two-time All-American in 1967 and 1968. He was inducted in to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989 and was named to Sports Illustrated's All-Century Team.

    Kwalick caught 86 passes for 1,343 yards and 10 touchdowns in three years as a starter, which was impressive for a tight end at the time.

    He went on to play for the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders from 1969-1977.