football Edit

Highs & Lows: Penn State spring practice

Penn State welcomed freshmen at University Park and the media to watch a practice inside Beaver Stadium Saturday afternoon. We got our first look at not only Mike Yurcich's new offense, but also new players like Arnold Ebiketie, Kalen King and many others. BWI's Nate Bauer breaks down some of the key moments below.

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Penn State cornerback Kalen King has been praised by James Franklin all sprinng.
Penn State freshmen Kalen King had two interceptions. (Penn State Athletics)

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Given the format, trying to pick an obvious player of the game presents some challenges. But, even taking into account that the defense couldn’t technically sack the quarterback, the immediate and obvious performer that found himself in play after play was, to me, Arnold Ebiketie. (And, because you're going to see Kalen King's name everywhere, rest assured, I'll get to him shortly. In the meantime...) The Temple transfer defensive end flashed his quickness repeatedly and just had a nose for the ball, even when he wasn’t gunning for the quarterback. Head coach James Franklin already indicated previously that he’d been wowed by the incoming transfers and early enrollees, and Ebiketie’s performance Saturday backed that up.

PLAY OF THE GAME

That said, Kalen King probably could have made the same run at my pick for player of the game. His pick-six on Ta’Quan Roberson wasn’t necessarily the most remarkable feat of athleticism, but it demonstrated his immediate impact and backed up, again, what Franklin had said about him just this week. Said to have played a role in Marquis Wilson appearing as a receiver in the game, King is officially in the mix at a position group that would otherwise appear flush with talent. Like Ebiketie, he simply was around the ball constantly, and in an area that Penn State has fixated as a need for improvement, his ball skills helped generate two interceptions. Do that in the fall and Penn State is in business.BEST PASS

Sean Clifford’s deep pass to Cam Sullivan-Brown in the first possession of the afternoon was a beauty, putting it in perfect position for the receiver to make the catch on the left sideline.

BEST RUN

Keyvone Lee had a few on Saturday, but none were better than his rumbling 21-yard gain crossing midfield toward the conclusion of the scrimmage.

BEST CATCH

Daniel George had a misfire in his direction on the left sideline from Roberson but came down with the reception anyway. He later capped a NASCAR, 99-yard scoring drive with a 20-yard touchdown reception from Roberson.

BEST SACK

Arnold Ebiketie easily shed Caedan Wallace on the third offensive sequence of the afternoon. Per standard practice rules, he didn’t have to touch Clifford to register the sack, but it was a nice display of what the Nittany Lions have added as an edge rusher in the Temple transfer.

BEST HIT

Jaquan Brisker was the beneficiary of a tough Tyler Elsdon hit on Devyn Ford in the backfield late in the scrimmage. The ball immediately popped loose, setting off a mad scramble that was recovered by Brisker.

BEST EFFORT

Tight end Tyler Warren should get a nod here, establishing himself as a reliable target for Penn State’s quarterbacks Saturday afternoon.

BEST KICK

Jordan Stout’s 42-yard field goal toward the south end zone cleared the crossbar easily.

BEST RETURN

Some debate existed as to whether or not the officiating crew had called it off, but Devyn Ford took a live kickoff 100-yards the other way for a TD along the right numbers Saturday afternoon.

BEST DECISION

Reversing course to allow the media to cover the event beyond the initially announced limitations of just first-year students and family of coaches and players was the right call. But, see “WORST DECISION” to learn more.

WORST DECISION

Honestly, this should have been on TV. I’m sure there were reasons not to, but I’m having a hard time understanding what they were.

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