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Credit: Derek Wong

While the season overall was underwhelming, Penn football undoubtedly found its breakout star in running back Malachi Hosley. In his first season of college football, the Columbus, Ga. native became Penn’s first Ivy League Rookie of the Year winner in 30 seasons, earned a first team All-Ivy selection, and was a finalist for the Jerry Rice FCS Freshman of the Year Award. Hosley ran for 723 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, while also making an impact in the passing game, hauling in 22 balls for 246 yards and a touchdown.

After a slow start to the season, Hosley had his first impactful performance in the Red and Blue’s home game against Dartmouth, recording 66 receiving yards and a score in a 23-20 overtime loss. He then began to find a steady role in the offense, totaling 343 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in the Quakers' next four games.

All of that would eventually pale in comparison to his homecoming game performance on Nov. 4, 2023. In Penn’s 23-8 win over Cornell, Hosley punched his way through the hole for a 68-yard score to put the Quakers up 16-0 midway through the second quarter. Later, in the third quarter, with the Quaker offense up by eight and backed up near their own goal line, Hosley cut outside, found open space, and broke away from the Cornell defense for another touchdown — this one for a whopping 96 yards, the longest offensive play in program history. Hosley finished the game with 261 rushing yards on 21 carries, which was the third most in Penn history, earning Hosley FedEx Ground FCS National Freshman of the Week honors. His second touchdown run was even featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10.

Hosley built off his strong performance the remaining two weeks, going over 100 yards rushing in each game and adding two more touchdowns in close losses against Harvard and Princeton. While the Red and Blue unfortunately could not capture an Ivy League title this season, they will surely continue to rely on more impressive performances from Hosley to help them achieve their goals in the future.