Next Saturday, the Penn State Nittany Lions will take the field at Beaver Stadium for the first time in almost five months. Among the group of Lions there will be a lot of fresh faces and veterans, looking to either solidify or strengthen their positions on the depth chart. We are going to take a look at five players that are looking to solidify their positions.
- Lamont Wade, Safety
After such a high profile recruitment, a lot of the fan base had very high expectations for the safety from Pittsburgh. Coming into his third year I think he would even tell you he hasn’t lived up to his own expectations. Now he’s looking at possibly being the starter alongside Garrett Taylor, but he has hard hitter Jonathan Sutherland nipping at his heels. There has been nothing but high regards for Wade all winter, so expect him to be flying around on Saturday.
- The entire Wide Receivers group
There is no question that the wide receiver room will be paid plenty of attention to on Saturday and moving forward. After a disappointing season catching the ball last year, the group is revamped and looking to put that behind them. Attrition hit the unit hard after the season and left first-year contributor KJ Hamler as the most experienced guy in the room. Thankfully, they’ve been able to add help by the likes of George Campbell – via Florida State, and Weston Carr – via Azusa Pacific (Div. II). Those two players won’t arrive until the summer though, so on Saturday we get to watch all the great young talents that Franklin has reeled in at wide reciever. Keep a close eye on Justin Shorter, former five-star player that missed a lot of last season with an injury.
- Rasheed Walker, Offensive Tackle
Without a doubt the most sheer-talented tackle that Penn State has, but he has very limited game experience, as he redshirted last season. The redshirt freshman is seeming to slowly separate himself from the competition as spring practice rolls along, and we should see him continue that on Saturday. If he can be as dominant as advertised, Penn State might have an offensive line that can begin compete with the best defensive lines, down-for-down, for all 60 minutes.
- The Running Backs group
You know the old term, “iron sharpens iron” and that sure is the case here. Sophomore Ricky Slade has long been presumed the successor to Miles Sanders, but it’s been said by coaches and teammates that Journey Brown has been playing lights out this spring and is etching himself a nice role in the offense. Behind them you have the highly rated newcomer in Noah Cain and C.J. Holmes, the former Notre Dame transfer that was highly recruited our of High School. All of these guys are talented enough to take meaningful game-reps, and this the recent success out of this position for the school, you can be those guys know they have eyes on them and it’s pushing them.
- Ellis Brooks, Linebacker
The redshirt sophomore had himself a very encouraging end to his first season of action, and it seems like he will have a much expanded role in his second. Brooks looks to be the first reserve, if not the third starter if he has a strong end to the spring and summer. If Brooks can come out and continue to look the way he did in the Citrus Bowl, offenses are going to have long days against the Nittany Lions.
The 2019 Blue-White Game will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday April 13th. The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network at 8 p.m. on tape delay, and you can listen live at GoPSUSports.com.