Penn State Releases Official Full Depth Chart
The wait is finally over. Penn State football released its first official depth chart on Tuesday, just four days before the team travels to Lincoln Financial Field to take on Temple.
The most notable omission from the new depth chart is Adam Breneman, who missed all of last season with a left knee injury. Brent Wilkerson is listed as the No. 2 tight end in his absence, behind Mike Gesicki and ahead of Kyle Carter.
Otherwise, there are no major surprises on offense, but the addition of redshirt freshman wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins over junior wide receiver Geno Lewis justifies Thompkins’ mounting preseason hype. Though Lewis isn’t officially starting, he’ll be cycled into the rotation along with Saeed Blacknall, Brandon Polk, Juwan Johnson, and Matt Zanellato. The running back stable includes Akeel Lynch at the top of the chart, followed by the trio of Mark Allen, Nik Scott, and Saquon Barkley.
Up front, JUCO transfer Paris Palmer appears to be up to speed, as he’s listed as the starting left tackle. This dispels any rumors of James Franklin shifting right tackle Andrew Nelson — one of Penn State’s top pass protectors — over from his natural position. Instead of forcing Nelson to adjust on the left side, Franklin is trusting his new 6-foot-8 monstrous tackle to fill the void left by Donovan Smith.
On the defensive side of the ball, there are no unforeseen changes. Garrett Sickels and Carl Nassib replace Deion Barnes and C.J. Olaniyan at the weakside and strongside end positions, while Anthony Zettel and Austin Johnson headline the middle. The linebacking corps will look different without Mike Hull anchoring the middle, but Nyeem Wartman-White seems poised to step up and replace him seamlessly. Flanking Wartman-White will be Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda — two high-energy players that could make Penn State’s young front seven a force to be reckoned with.
The secondary remains virtually unchanged, save for the switch of Jordan Lucas from cornerback to safety. Lucas will be tasked with replacing Adrian Amos — something that shouldn’t come difficult to the newly minted team captain. The duo of Grant Haley and Trevor Williams return to man the cornerback spots for Penn State, but expect Christian Campbell and John Reid to play key roles down in the slot.
Perhaps most fun announcement of all was the decision to go with redshirt freshman Joey Julius as the team’s kicker. The large-set kicker was a frontrunner for the job throughout spring ball and summer camp, and it appears that the coaching staff feels confidently in Julius’ ability to step up and replace the departed Sam Ficken. Sophomore Daniel Pasquariello is listed as the top punter, while Chris Gulla — who switched permanently to kicker in the offseason — is the team’s top holder.
Stay tuned for more on the depth chart as the week continues.