football Edit

Penn State football depth chart: What will it look like for Villanova week?

Penn State is not releasing a depth chart in 2021 for competitive advantage reasons, but the chance to watch three games now allows us to put together a positional grid based on what we have seen.

There was very little change this week compared to last, but the Auburn game caused us to make a few adjustments heading into this Saturday's meeting with Villanova.

Here's our starter and backup rundown ahead of a Noon contest at Beaver Stadium.

Penn State running back John Lovett saw his first game action as a Nittany Lion during last Saturday's win over Auburn. BWI photo/Steve Manuel
Penn State running back John Lovett saw his first game action as a Nittany Lion during last Saturday's win over Auburn. BWI photo/Steve Manuel

Quarterback

Starter: No. 14 Sean Clifford

Backup: No. 2 Ta’Quan Roberson

The Lowdown: So, per the usual, we have no reason to change this section, but we are looking forward to seeing Roberson in action this week for a decent stretch assuming the Nittany Lions build a comfortable lead as expected.

Running Back

Starter: No. 21 Noah Cain

Backup: No. 10 John Lovett

Third-string: No. 24 Keyvone Lee

The Lowdown: Are we overreacting to just one week's worth of information here? Maybe, but Lovett out-snapped Lee 18-to-2 in his debut, which might have had as much to do with the latter fumbling at one point as anything else. So, maybe we should go with an OR there, but we'll learn more this weekend. There is a pretty clear divide, however, between those three guys and then Devyn Ford and Caziah Holmes.

Wide Receiver 

Wide Receiver

Starter: No. 5 Jahan Dotson

Backup: No. 6 Cam Sullivan-Brown

Wide Receiver

Starter: No 13 KeAndre Lambert Smith

Backup: No 16 Cam Sullivan-Brown

Wide Receiver

Starter: No. 3 Parker Washington

Backup: No. 89 Winston Eubanks OR No. 8 Marquis Wilson

The Lowdown: There's not much to note here. Wilson did outplay Eubanks by a 7-to-2 count, so perhaps that OR will be deleted by the start of October, but otherwise, things are status quo.

Tight End

Tight end Theo Johnson caught his first touchdown with the Nittany Lions during Saturday's win over Ball State.
Tight end Theo Johnson caught his first touchdown with the Nittany Lions during Saturday's win over Ball State.

Starter: No. 86 Brenton Strange

Backup: No. 84 Theo Johnson

Third-string: No. 44 Tyler Warren

The Lowdown: Again, no changes to be made here, but Strange and Johnson play a lot of snaps, and Warren was used as a gadget guy on a direct-snap run for a score against Auburn. That was fun. This is a really talented, versatile bunch.

Offensive Line

Left Tackle

Starter: No. 53 Rasheed Walker

Backup: No. 74 Olu Fashanu

Left Guard

Starter No. 68 Eric Wilson

Backup: No. 72 Bryce Effner

Center

Starter: No. 73 Mike Miranda

Backup: No. 72 Bryce Effner OR No. 70 Juice Scruggs

Right Guard

Starter: No. 70 Juice Scruggs

Backup: No. 75 Des Holmes OR No. 72 Bryce Effner

Right Tackle

Starter: No. 79 Caedan Wallace

Backup: No. 58 Landon Tengwall

The Lowdown: We deleted Anthony Whigan from the list for the time being, as he didn't even see a snap against the Tigers. The same goes for Des Holmes as an OR backup at right guard behind Scruggs. It seems like Effner is the ultimate utility man inside. It will be curious to see if he rotates with Wilson as much this coming week.

Defensive Line

Defensive End

Starter: No. 46 Nick Tarburton OR No. 40 Jesse Luketa

Backup: No. 92 Smith Vilbert No.36 Zuriah Fisher

Defensive Tackle

Starter: No. 97 PJ Mustipher

Backup: No. 91 D'Von Ellies OR No. 99 Coziah Izzard

Third-string: No. 56 Amin Vanover

Defensive Tackle

Starter: No. 54 Derrick Tangelo

Backup: No. 91 D'Von Ellies OR No. 99 Coziah Izzard

Third-string: No. 56 Amin Vanover

Defensive End

Starter: No. 17 Arnold Ebiketie

Backup: No. 40 Jesse Luketa

Third-string: No. 92 Smith Vilbert OR No.36 Zuriah Fisher

The Lowdown: We're geting close to seeing Luketa take over the starting job, it feels like, but it really doesn't matter to a degree, because both he and Tarburton are going to play. Inside, it's become pretty clear that D'Von Ellies is the top backup after Tangelo and Mustipher.

Linebacker

Penn State linebacker Brandon Smith played a big role in Week 2. Photo courtesy of PSU Athletics
Penn State linebacker Brandon Smith played a big role in Week 2. Photo courtesy of PSU Athletics

WILL Linebacker

Starter: No. 12 Brandon Smith

Backup: No. 45 Charlie Katshir

Middle Linebacker

Starter: No. 13 Ellis Brooks

Backup: No. 40 Jesse Luketa

SAM Linebacker

Starter: No. 23 Curtis Jacobs

Backup: No. 0 Jonathan Sutherland

The Lowdown: Everything carries over here from last week. It'll be interesting to see who comes in for Brooks on Saturday. We'll make the assumption it'll be somebody other than Luketa, who is thriving at defensive end.

Secondary

Cornerback

Starter: No. 5 Tariq Castro-Fields

Backup: No. 25 Daequan Hardy OR No. 4 Kalen King


Safety

Starter: No. 16 Ji’Ayir Brown

Backup: No. 0 Jonathan Sutherland

Safety

Starter: No. 1 Jaquan Brisker

Backup: No. 0 Jonathan Sutherland

Cornerback

Starter: No. 9 Joey Porter Jr.

Backup: No. 25 Daequan Hardy OR No. 4 Kalen King

Starting slot corner

25 Daequan Hardy

The Lowdown: We're leaving the OR between Hardy and King for now, and thanks to a reader suggestion, added a line to note that Hardy is the first-team slot/nickel corner.

Special Teams 

Kicker: No. 98 Jordan Stout

Punter: No. 98 Jordan Stout

Kickoff specialist: No. 98 Jordan Stout

Punt returner: No. 5 Jahan Dotson

Kick returners: No. 24 Keyvone Lee and No. 28 Devyn Ford

The Lowdown: Stout was perfect against Auburn, which means that Jake Pinegar was again not part of the game plan.

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