2020 COLLEGE FOOTBALL CAPSULE: PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS

HEAD COACH: James Franklin

RECORD: 50 – 23 at Penn State

2019 RECORD: 11 – 2

BIG 10 RECORD: 7 – 2 (2ND in the East)

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Kirk Clarrocca

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Brent Pry

 

LAST LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP: 2016

RETURNING PLAYERS OFFENSE: 8

RETURNING PLAYERS DEFENSE: 5

RETURNING SPECIAL TEAMS: kicker

 

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH:

QB Sean Clifford

RB Journey Brown

TE Pat Freiemuth

C Michal Manet

DE Shaka Toney

LB Michael Parsons

CB Tariq Castro – Fields

S Lamont Wade

 

TEAM STRENGTHS: Penn State’s offense has plenty of talent, experience and depth in the backfield. Their tight end and offensive line are perhaps one of the top units in the conference. This could also be Coach Franklin’s best defense at Penn State. The linebackers could be the best in the conference. The secondary will also be a strength with three seniors starting.

 

TEAM CONCERNS: Penn State will have to adjust quickly with four new assistant coaches including offensive coordinator. Wide receiver is a concern with Jahan Dotson the only seasoned and most consistent player returning. Penn State allowed too many long pass plays last season.

 

3 BIGGEST QUESTIONS

Who will help solve the issues with the pass defense?

Who replaces KJ Hamler and other losses at wide receiver?

What does the revamp coaching staff look like?

 

2019 RESULTS

W Idaho 79 – 7

W Buffalo 45 – 13

W Pittsburgh 17 – 10

W at Maryland 59 – 0

W Purdue 35 – 7

W at Iowa 17 – 12

W Michigan 28 – 21

W at Michigan State 28 – 7

L at Minnesota 31 – 26

W Indiana 34 – 27

L at Ohio State 28 – 17

W Rutgers 27 – 6

COTTON BOWL

W Memphis 53 – 39

 

2020 SCHEDULE

September 5 Kent State

September 12 at Virginia Tech

September 19 San Jose State

September 26 Northwestern

October 3 at Michigan

October 17 Iowa

October 24 Ohio State

October 31 at Indiana

November 7 at Nebraska

November 14 Michigan State

November 21 Maryland

November 28 at Rutgers

 

2019 RANKINGS

OFFENSE

SCORING: 35.8

RUSHING: 190.6

PASSING: 221.3

TOTAL OFFENSE: 411.9

 

DEFENSE

SCORING: 16.0

RUSHING: 95.0

PASSING: 251.5

TOTAL DEFENSE: 346.5

TURNOVER MARGIN: +0.62

 

2019 INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

PASSING: Sean Clifford, 189 – 319 – 23TD

RUSHING: Journey Brown, 129 – 890 – 6.9 – 12TD

RECEIVING: KJ Hamler, 56 – 904 – 16.1 – 8TD

TACKLES: Michael Parsons, 109

TACKLES FOR LOSS: Y Gross-Matos, 15

SACKS: Y. Gross-Matos, 9.5

INTERCEPTIONS: J Reid, 2

 

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

LB Micah Parsons: Parsons was a consensus first – team All-American and a Butkus award finalist in 2019. He led Penn State in tackles for a second straight season. He also became the first sophomore to be named the conference linebacker of the year. He plays in bowl games with 28 tackles and three forced fumbles and just two games. He performs under pressure and in moments.

 

KEEP AN EYE ON

DE Jayson Oweh: Jayson is a unique player since he did not play for all until his junior year of high school. He is a freakish athlete who can run a 4.33 40. He has a 36.5 – inch vertical leap. He accumulated five sacks last season including two strip sacks against Michigan State.

 

TOP NEWCOMER

WR TJ Jones: Jones played in just one game last season and red – shirted. He is ready for 2020 and is expected to have a much bigger role this season, especially since Penn State is a little weak at wide receiver.

 

TOP 2020 RECRUITS

LB Curtis Jacobs 6’2” 220

TE Theo Johnson 6’6” 242

S Enzo Jennings 6’1” 185

APB Caziah Holmes 5’11” 179

DT Cole Brevard 6’3” 305

 

WHAT THE SCOUTS ARE SAYING

James Franklin has proven to be a great recruiter, but this year’s class may be the best he is had at Penn State. Adding OC Kirk Ciarrocca will be huge for Penn State offense. He is a creative play caller will give this offense a boost. Ciarrocca is a star in the making and may be in line for a head coaching job relatively soon. It will be fun to see how he transforms this offense. One player who will benefit greatly will be QB Sean Clifford. Clifford doesn’t scare you with his velocity or intangibles, but he is very smart and has a soft touch. He has the ability to put the football between defenders. The star of this offense will be running back Journey Brown. He does run a little upright but he has the ability to get in the open. He has a good spring in his step and will explode into daylight.

Penn State has had four consecutive top 15 recruiting classes and the Lions are expected to challenge Ohio State for the Big 10 East title. A fourth 11 – win season in five years is well within reach.

 

2020 ROSTER

2020 Football Roster
# FULL NAME POS. CL. EXP. HT. WT. HOMETOWN / HIGH SCHOOL
2 Keaton Ellis CB So. So. 5-11 183 State College, Pa. / State College Area
3 Donovan Johnson CB Sr. Jr. 5-9 180 Detroit, Mich. / Cass Tech
4 Journey Brown RB Sr. Jr. 5-11 216 Meadville, Pa. / Meadville
5 Tariq Castro-Fields CB Sr. Sr. 6-0 190 Upper Marlboro, Md. / Riverdale Baptist School
5 Jahan Dotson WR Jr. Jr. 5-11 184 Nazareth, Pa. / Nazareth Area
7 Jaquan Brisker S Sr. Sr. 6-1 205 Pittsburgh, Pa. / Gateway
7 Will Levis QB Jr. So. 6-3 231 Madison, Conn. / Xavier
8 John Dunmore WR So. Fr. 6-1 191 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / Chaminade-Madonna College Prep
8 Marquis Wilson CB So. So. 5-11 181 Windsor, Conn. / Windsor
9 Joey Porter Jr. CB So. Fr. 6-2 192 Bakersfield, Calif. / North Allegheny (Pa.)
9 Ta’Quan Roberson QB So. Fr. 5-11 194 Orange, N.J. / DePaul Catholic
10 Lance Dixon LB So. Fr. 6-2 223 West Bloomfield, Mich. / West Bloomfield
10 TJ Jones WR So. Fr. 6-1 200 Lake City, Fla. / Columbia
11 Daniel George WR Jr. So. 6-2 210 Fort Washington, Md. / Oxon Hill
11 Micah Parsons LB Jr. Jr. 6-3 244 Harrisburg, Pa. / Harrisburg
12 Brandon Smith LB So. So. 6-3 240 Louisa, Va. / Louisa County
13 Ellis Brooks LB Sr. Jr. 6-1 236 Mechanicsville, Va. / Benedictine College Prep
13 KeAndre Lambert-Smith WR Fr. Fr. 6-1 184 Norfolk, Va. / Maury
14 Sean Clifford QB Sr. Jr. 6-2 219 Cincinnati, Ohio / Saint Xavier
15 Enzo Jennings S Fr. Fr. 6-1 197 Detroit, Mich. / Oak Park
17 Joseph Johnson III CB Fr. Fr. 6-2 181 Richmond, Va. / Life Christian Academy
17 Grayson Kline TE/H Jr. So. 6-5 256 Sinking Spring, Pa. / Warwick
18 Shaka Toney DE 5th Sr. 6-3 236 Philadelphia, Pa. / Imhotep Charter
19 Jaden Dottin WR Fr. Fr. 6-2 182 Cambridge, Mass. / Suffield Academy (Conn.)
19 Trent Gordon S Jr. So. 5-11 192 Spring, Texas / Manvel
20 Adisa Isaac DE So. So. 6-4 256 Brooklyn, N.Y. / Canarsie
21 Noah Cain RB So. So. 5-10 223 Baton Rouge, La. / IMG Academy (Fla.)
21 Tyler Rudolph S So. Fr. 6-0 207 Waterbury, Conn. / St. Thomas More
25 Daequan Hardy CB So. Fr. 5-9 170 Pittsburgh, Pa. / Penn Hills
26 Caziah Holmes RB Fr. Fr. 5-11 208 Titusville, Fla. / Cocoa
26 Jonathan Sutherland S Sr. Jr. 5-11 198 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada / Episcopal (Va.)
27 Aeneas Hawkins DT Jr. So. 6-2 288 Cincinnati, Ohio / Moeller
27 Jaden Seider S So. Fr. 5-10 174 Morgantown, W.Va. / State College Area
28 Devyn Ford RB So. So. 5-11 200 Stafford, Va. / North Stafford
28 Jayson Oweh DE Jr. So. 6-5 257 Howell, N.J. / Blair Academy
29 Sebastian Costantini CB So. Fr. 5-11 183 Collegeville, Pa. / Malvern Prep
29 Henry Fessler WR Jr. So. 5-10 180 Erie, Pa. / Cathedral Prep
31 Denver Light LB So. Fr. 6-1 220 Tyrone, Pa. / Tyrone Area
32 Dylan Farronato S So. Fr. 5-11 187 Lewisburg, Pa. / Lewisburg Area
33 Bryce Mostella DE Fr. Fr. 6-6 241 Kentwood, Mich. / East Kentwood
34 Shane Simmons DE 5th Sr. 6-3 244 Laurel, Md. / DeMatha
36 Makai Self CB So. Fr. 5-9 165 Upper Marlboro, Md. / IMG Academy (Fla.)
37 Drew Hartlaub S Sr. Jr. 5-11 182 Hanover, Pa. / South Western
38 Tank Smith RB So. Fr. 5-7 220 Pittsburgh, Pa. / Penn Hills
38 Lamont Wade S Sr. Sr. 5-9 188 Clairton, Pa. / Clairton
39 Robbie Dwyer LB So. Fr. 6-1 241 Pringle, Pa. / Wyoming Valley West
40 Jesse Luketa LB Jr. Jr. 6-3 244 Ottawa, Ontario / Mercyhurst Prep (Pa.)
43 Trevor Baker TE/H Sr. Jr. 6-3 241 Easton, Pa. / Lewis S. Mills (Conn.)
43 Tyler Elsdon LB Fr. Fr. 6-2 227 Frackville, Pa. / North Schuylkill
44 Joseph Appiah Darkwa DT So. Fr. 6-5 287 North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany / Don Bosco Gymnasium
44 Cameron Pica WR Sr. Jr. 6-2 210 Hermitage, Pa. / Hickory
45 Charlie Katshir LB Jr. So. 6-3 226 Camp Hill, Pa. / Cumberland Valley
46 Nick Tarburton DE Jr. So. 6-3 259 Green Lane, Pa. / Pennridge
47 Tommy Friberg TE/H So. Fr. 6-3 202 State College, Pa. / State College Area
47 Alex Furmanek LB So. Fr. 6-2 247 North East, Pa. / North East
50 Max Chizmar LB Sr. Jr. 6-2 223 Mars, Pa. / Mars Area
50 WIll Knutsson OL Jr. So. 6-2 310 Fredericksburg, Va. / McDonogh School
51 Hakeem Beamon DT So. Fr. 6-3 288 Midlothian, Va. / Manchester
52 Blake Zalar OL So. Fr. 6-1 289 Coal Township, Pa. / Shamokin Area
53 Fred Hansard DT Sr. Jr. 6-3 318 Burlington, N.J. / The Hun School
53 Rasheed Walker OL Jr. So. 6-6 320 Waldorf, Md. / North Point
54 Fatorma Mulbah DT Fr. Fr. 6-3 283 Harrisburg, Pa. / Susquehanna
55 Antonio Shelton DT Gr. Sr. 6-2 315 Columbus, Ohio / Westerville-North
55 Anthony Whigan OL Sr. Jr. 6-4 320 Lexington Park, Md. / Great Mills
58 Evan Presta DT Sr. Jr. 6-3 282 Erie, Pa. / Cathedral Prep
59 Kaleb Konigus OL Jr. So. 6-2 321 Lehman, Pa. / Lake-Lehman
62 Michal Menet OL 5th Sr. 6-4 302 Birdsboro, Pa. / Exeter Township Senior
63 Collin De Boef OL Jr. So. 6-5 250 State College, Pa. / State College Area
66 Nick Dawkins OL Fr. Fr. 6-3 302 Allentown, Pa. / Parkland
69 C.J. Thorpe OL Sr. Jr. 6-3 328 Glenshaw, Pa. / Central Catholic
70 Juice Scruggs OL Jr. So. 6-3 297 Ashtabula, Ohio / Cathedral Prep (Pa.)
71 Will Fries OL Gr. Sr. 6-6 309 Cranford, N.J. / Cranford
72 Bryce Effner OL Jr. So. 6-5 302 Aurora, Ill. / Metea Valley
73 Mike Miranda OL Sr. Jr. 6-3 301 Stow, Ohio / Stow-Munroe
75 Des Holmes OL Sr. Jr. 6-5 322 Norristown, Pa. / Cardinal O’Hara
76 Justin Kopko OL So. Fr. 6-3 300 Hanover Township, Pa. / Hanover Area
77 Judge Culpepper DT Jr. So. 6-4 294 Tampa, Fla. / H.B. Plant
77 Sal Wormley OL So. Fr. 6-3 319 Newark, N.J. / Smyrna (Del.)
79 Caedan Wallace OL So. Fr. 6-5 337 Robbinsville, N.J. / The Hun School
80 Justin Weller WR Sr. Jr. 6-0 185 Sinking Spring, Pa. / Wilson
81 Cam Sullivan-Brown WR Sr. Jr. 6-0 193 Bowie, Md. / Saint Vincent Pallotti
82 Zack Kuntz TE/H Jr. So. 6-7 254 Camp Hill, Pa. / Camp Hill
84 Theo Johnson TE Fr. Fr. 6-6 249 Windsor, Ont. / Holy Names Catholic
84 Benjamin Wilson WR 5th Sr. 6-2 210 Uniontown, Pa. / Uniontown
85 Isaac Lutz WR Gr. Sr. 5-11 198 Reading, Pa. / Berks Catholic
86 Alec Berger WR Sr. Jr. 5-11 170 McKinney, Texas / McKinney
86 Brenton Strange TE/H So. Fr. 6-3 242 Parkersburg, W.Va. / Parkersburg
87 Pat Freiermuth TE/H Jr. Jr. 6-5 259 Merrimac, Mass. / Brooks School
90 Rafael Checa K Jr. So. 6-2 206 Chevy Chase, Md. / St. John’s College H.S.
91 Dvon Ellies DT So. Fr. 6-1 292 Burtonsville, Md. / McDonogh School
91 Chris Stoll SN Sr. Jr. 6-2 241 Westerville, Ohio / St. Francis DeSales
92 Jake Pinegar K Jr. Jr. 6-2 189 Ankeny, Iowa / Ankeny Centennial
92 Smith Vilbert DE So. Fr. 6-6 266 Monsey, N.Y. / St. Joseph’s Regional (N.J.)
94 Joe Calcagno SN Sr. Jr. 6-0 293 Elmhurst, Ill. / Fenwick
95 Cole Brevard DT Fr. Fr. 6-3 324 Carmel, Ind. / Carmel
95 Vlad Hilling K Jr. So. 5-10 228 Hollidaysburg, Pa. / Hollidaysburg
96 Anthony DaSilva K So. Fr. 5-11 162 Bethlehem, Pa. / Bethlehem Catholic
97 Carson Landis K/P Sr. Jr. 6-2 208 Macungie, Pa. / Emmaus
97 PJ Mustipher DT Jr. Jr. 6-4 305 Owings Mills, Md. / McDonogh School
98 Bradley King P Jr. So. 6-2 208 Geneva, Ill. / Geneva Community
98 Jordan Stout K/P Sr. Jr. 6-3 204 Cedar Bluff, Va. / Honaker
98 Dan Vasey DL/SN Sr. Jr. 6-4 246 Lackawaxen, Pa. / Wallenpaupack