Speedy back Belton becomes Penn State mainstay on offense
College Football Videos
Of the dominoes that fell amidst the butterfly effect of Pitt's decision to fire Dave Wannstedt after the 2010 season, Bill Belton's fate ranks far down the publicized list of “what ifs.”
Still, what if Belton had remained committed to Pitt?
Then a four-star athlete from New Jersey, Belton backed out of a verbal commitment to the Panthers, in part, because he had wanted to play for Wannstedt.
He ultimately chose to play for Joe Paterno at Penn State.
Little could anyone have known when Belton made his initial commitment to Pitt that both schools would go through five head coaches — counting interim — over the ensuing four years.
Secure in his decision despite the relative turmoil, Belton shrugs.
“I enjoyed the ride,” he said. “At the end of the day, you're here to get your degree and to play meaningful football.”
Belton's college career technically began as a receiver, although he was mostly used in 2011 as a wildcat quarterback. Bill O'Brien quickly moved Belton to running back when he was hired as coach in 2012. After an injury-marred sophomore season, the 5-foot-10, 204-pound Belton amassed 1,036 all-purpose yards last season.
Now a senior and team leader, Belton figures to be a versatile cog in the offense.
Belton has 1,131 career rushing yards, and his 25 receptions are more than any non-tight end on the roster. He is one of six PSU players with bowl-game experience.
“He's played in a lot of games, a lot of big games,” offensive coordinator John Donovan said. “He's got a lot of ability, and he's a senior. That's a pretty good combination right there. ... We are expecting big things.”
Belton repeatedly tweets articles that rank, say, the Big Ten's top running backs or best players. When his name isn't included on top-10 lists, he often accompanies the link with a comment such as, “Underrated & overlooked” or “Got a HUGE chip on my shoulder.”
“That's why I go and work out extra and why I go and do the extra things I do,” he said. “That's all I use it as.”
Though the two have a good relationship, Belton bristles at the notion that fellow senior Zach Zwinak is the power back and he is merely the speedster.
The two form arguably the Big Ten's top rushing tandem. They totaled 1,782 rushing yards last season.
But while he appreciates having a running mate the quality of Zwinak, don't make the mistake of assuming Belton is content playing the stereotypical “scat back” role to Zwinak's “bruiser.”
“I'm a guy that can play all three downs,” Belton said. “I can be a receiver out of the backfield and do everything that a good back can do.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Locke struggles again early, Pirates lose again in Milwaukee
- Bubble players get last chance to impress Steelers
- Steelers accomplish mission to get younger, faster on defense
- American to halt 2 direct routes from Pittsburgh International
- Asking price for Penguins franchise said to be at a record $750M
- Pa. business interests decry EPA ozone proposal as economic albatross
- Western Pennsylvania schools’ denial of access to roofers prompts suit
- Statewide high school football notebook: Longtime Berwick coach set to begin final season
- 4-year-old transplant recipient Angelo Giorno from Derry on life support, family says
- Hempfield officials to review site plan for Excela Health Orthoplex
- Police: Woman faked Mt. Pleasant robbery