Penn State football released its rosters ahead of the annual Blue-White game on Saturday. The Blue team is loaded with projected starters, while the White team has a number of young players hoping to make an impact and potentially work their way up the depth chart.
Blue’s roster features both of the team’s top two quarterbacks, so how much James Franklin actually plans on playing Trace McSorley is questionable. With Franklin stressing during spring ball the importance of getting to see more of guys that haven’t had a chance to prove themselves, the player taking the bulk of the snaps tomorrow with the first team is likely Tommy Stevens.
The running back situation is similar. Saquon Barkley didn’t play in the 2016 Blue-White game, and that probably won’t change in 2017. All three major players in the backfield from last season — Mark Allen, Andre Robinson, and Miles Sanders — are on the Blue roster, which makes for some interesting competition for carries.
Wide receiver could be a mix of guys, but interestingly enough, there’s only two tight ends on Blue’s roster. It’s questionable how many downs Mike Gesicki will play, so that would mean Jonathan Holland gets some quality playing time.
The offensive line returns a number of starters, but this will be the first chance to see Connor McGovern at center.
Defensively, a surprising name to see pop up with some first team players is Lamont Wade. The early-enrolled cornerback gets his first chance to light up Beaver Stadium this weekend.
The defense also provides some interesting position battles at safety and defensive end. Shareef Miller, Torrence Brown, and Ryan Buchholz are fighting it out for starting roles at DE and Colin Castagna also throws his name into the mix with a first-team nod. Nick Scott might’ve gotten the preliminary vote of confidence from Franklin in his battle for the starting safety job with a selection to the Blue team as well.
For what it lacks in experience, the White team has some interesting names with a ton of potential.
At quarterback, the starter will likely be Jake Zembiec, unless fellow redshirt freshman Michael Shuster has closed the gap for the third-string spot. Stuck behind the talented running back quartet, Nick Eury opens his first year of eligibility with a chance to shine in White’s backfield without Barkley and co. on the roster to take carries.
With Irvin Charles and a number of experienced tight ends, the redshirt freshman quarterback should have some throwing options. KJ Hamler also makes his Penn State debut in this talented receiving pool.
The defense has a number of spring standouts as well. Ayron Monroe will need to impress to keep up in his safety position battle with Nick Scott, while redshirt freshman defensive ends Shaka Toney and Shane Simmons hope to continue to turn heads much like they have in practice leading up to the spring game.