football Edit

Penn State Releases Spring Depth Chart

The Blue-White Game, scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium, has been canceled for a month, as has the entirety of the Nittany Lions' organized spring practice session.

Still able to supply workout and training suggestions as well as eight hours of position meeting time per week, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic didn't stop the program from progressing through the past five weeks, though.

In the spirit of the day, then, Penn State football sent to media members Saturday morning a copy of its "spring depth chart" with one major caveat at the bottom.

It reads as follows:

NOTE: This depth chart does not reflect "OR" status for positions as it would be too numerous to list due to competition at many, if not all, positions.

That said, check it out for yourself, below.

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UPDATED: 3:30 PM ET - Penn State updated its depth chart to no longer include Micah Parsons as the lead kicker returner. Journey Brown and Devyn Ford are the top two players at the position.

- Given the graduation and pursuit of an NFL career for punter Blake Gillikin, questions have been persistent for Penn State at the spot as to who might take over. While it’s too early to say how it will shake out, last year’s kickoff specialist and long-range field goal kicker, Jordan Stout, now appears at the top of the punter chart. Jake Pinegar remains the primary field goal and PAT kicker.

- Offensively, there are no real surprises at many positions given the number of returning starters and backups ascending into likely starters’ roles.

In the absence of only Steven Gonzalez from last season’s starting offensive line, the remaining two rotating guards are slated as starters with Mike Miranda on the left side and C.J.Thorpe at right guard.

Considering the departure of K.J. Hamler and the transfers of both Mac Hippenhammer this spring and Justin Shorter at the end of last season, the receiver sports are markedly different from the depth chart that led into the Cotton Bowl.

At one Shorter’s vacated spot, much remains the same in that Daniel George and Cam Sullivan-Brown are listed as 1/2, with Dan Chisena having graduated. New names at the position on the depth chart include midsemester enrollee KeAndre Lambert-Smith and fifth-year senior Benjamin Wilson.

At the slot, Hamler’s name has been replaced by Jahan Dotson, who appears slated to move back to the position he began his career at now that he’s a junior and the Nittany Lions’ leading returning receiver for the 2020 season. Preferred Walk-on Isaac Lutz is listed behind Dotson with fellow walk-ons Justin Weller and Henry Fessler rounding out the position.

Finally, the most interesting position battle is likely to occur at the final receiver spot. At present, redshirt freshman T.J. Jones has the nod over classmate John Dunmore, while midsemester enrollee Jaden Dottin is listed third and walk-ons Alec Berger and Cameron Pica round out the position.

Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson has moved back into the slot.
Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson has moved back into the slot.

- Flipping to the defensive side of the ball, Penn State’s plan for the trenches is certainly of interest.

Speaking with P.J. Mustipher for an interview this spring, the third-year defensive tackle revealed that new defensive line coach John Scott is shifting philosophies slightly into more traditional 1- and 3-technique roles. At present, then, Mustipher has the nod over the rest at a crowded 3-technique spot that also includes rising redshirt sophomore Judge Culpepper, redshirt freshmen Hakeem Beamon and D’Von Ellies, redshirt sophomore Aeneas Hawkins and fourth-year walk-on Evan Presta.

At the 1-technique, Antonio Shelton leads the way in a competition that will surely also include Fred Hansard in the preseason. Backup spots are listed out to Damion Barber, Joseph Darkwah, and early enrollees Fatorma Mulbah and Cole Brevard.

- At defensive end, Jayson Oweh has been moved opposite Shaka Toney into Yetur Gross-Matos’ vacated spot.

That pushes Adisa Isaac into Toney’s primary backup, with Nick Tarburton and Dan Vasey rounding out the position. On the other side, Oweh is listed as being backed up by fifth-year senior Shane Simmons, redshirt freshman Smith Vilbert, early enrollee Bryce Mostella and walk-on Alex Furmanek.

- Jan Johnson is gone at middle linebacker and Cam Brown has also vacated a starting spot opposite Parsons, leaving some shuffling at backup spots from last season.

Instead of Jesse Luketa and Lance Dixon as Parsons’ backups, Charlie Katshir and Robbie Dwyer are now listed. Stepping up for Johnson is Ellis Brooks with Luketa vying for the same spot, while walk-on Max Chizmar and early enrollee Tyler Elsdon are also listed in the middle. And at the other outside backer spot, Brandon Smith moves up into Brown’s role, with Dixon swapping sides.

- As indicated by Terry Smith this week, Lamont Wade, Donovan Johnson, Daequan Hardy, and Keaton Ellis will all vie to become the nickel.

Given Penn State’s assurances in its depth at corner, with more returning experience than exists at the safety spots, Smith intimated that the position was likely to be filled by a corner for next season.

- In Garrett Taylor’s absence, Jaquan Brisker has moved into the field safety starting spot, where he’ll likely have to beat out Jonathan Sutherland in the preseason, who is listed second. Early enrollee Enzo Jennings is also listed at the position.



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