Everybody loves Emeka and he deserved a featured article on its own.
Tanner Ingle may not have been flagged for targeting a single time this season. That's during a season where I don't think anyone would accuse him of holding back or lacking in aggressiveness. When you're that athletic and have that kind of nose for the ball, it takes a lot of dedication to develop the discipline he clearly developed. It didn't get attention because we're praising him for what he's not doing but he deserves praise for it.
Cory Durden was a hero where we needed one. Not only did he show up strong on the field, by all accounts he's been an outstanding addition to the locker room. He had a nickname for everyone on the defense and always seemed to have a smile on his face. We were incredibly fortunate to get a player of his talent and character at a position where we lost last year's starter to the NFL and then lost his presumptive replacement to injury before the season even started.
Daniel Joseph might have called it a college career after a solid showing in 2020. He wasn't getting the snaps at Penn State and came here to get on the field and show what he could do. He did that last year and might have avoided risking injury this season. But as he pointed out in at least one interview, this team was pissed off for greatness and I think he deserves a degree of credit for coming in as an upperclassman, embracing that and exuding it for the younger guys on the roster.
Ricky Person contemplating quitting football in 2019 after injury repeatedly made football a chore of getting hurt, rehabbing and getting hurt again, without the same success and adoration he garnered as a highly touted high school recruit in the 2018 class. All while watching guys like Nyheim (2015 recruit), Reggie (2015 recruit), JaySam (2014 recruit) ahead of him and Bam (2019 recruit) and Jordan (2019 recruit) live the dream when they did all the same work he had done. And he watched his position coach get elevated to Co-Offensive Coordinator and then leave for a job elsewhere after that didn't work out so great. If he had decided to hang up the cleats, I certainly wouldn't have blamed him.
Chris Dunn is the greatest and most important kicker in program history. He doesn't finish at the top of the career FG% chart and he put up his worst single-season FG% of his 4 seasons in 2021, but we needed a hero at kicker and he was that guy for the last 4 seasons. He's 4th all time in FG% among players who kicked for more than a single season and he kicked for at least one season more than any of them. He attempted more field goals than any of them at 29 more field goals (86 to 57) than the next most prolific guy ahead of him in FG%. Hell, he made more at 69 than anyone ahead of him in FG% even attempted for their career. With the exception of two guys, he made more field goals than anyone else has attempted, ever.
Like I said, not an exhaustive list, just one a few guys who came to mind. I'm sure I'll add more later. Or do it yourself.