Countdown To Blue-White 2016: Redshirt Freshmen To Watch
Whether it’s watching a young linebacker like Navorro Bowman fly all over the field or seeing Daryll Clark take snaps under center for the first time, the Blue-White Game serves as a chance for Penn State fans to catch of a glimpse of the future and this year will be no different. While fans should already be aware of impact players like Saquon Barkley and John Reid, the large majority of the 2015 class has yet to make an impact in Beaver Stadium — that is, until Saturday.
Keep an eye on these names as players who could have a coming out party in the Nittany Lions’ final spring practice.
No. 84 Juwan Johnson | Wide Receiver
Already flourished with talented returning starters Chris Godwin and DaeSean Hamilton, the Nittany Lions aren’t exactly hurting for playmakers on the outside. But regardless of what’s in front of him, Juwan Johnson may just be too talented to keep off the field. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 221 pounds, Johnson could be one of Penn State’s most imposing offensive weapons. Despite his size, the Jersey native also has the speed to beat defensive backs, running the 55 meter dash in 6.58 seconds in high school. Nicknamed “Megatron Jr.” for a reason, Johnson could flash that size and speed that makes him so filled with potential.
No. 83 Nick Bowers | Tight End
After the indefinite suspension of Brent Wilkerson, the tight end spot opposite Mike Gesicki is up for grabs. At this point, it looks as though Nick Bowers could be the favorite for the job. Bowers won’t be confused for Jimmy Graham on the field, but the young tight end has the size (6-foot-4, 265 pounds), blocking ability, and enough athleticism to become a safety valve for whoever wins the starting quarterback job.
No. 76 Sterling Jenkins | Offensive Tackle
While Sterling Jenkins probably doesn’t figure into plans this upcoming season, there might not be a player with more potential on Penn State’s roster. Jenkins has elite size at 6-foot-8, 329 pounds, but he’s still learning the nuances of being an offensive lineman. After enrolling-early last season, the mammoth offensive tackle played in the 2015 Blue-White Game, so it’ll be interesting to see how much Jenkins has progressed since then.
No. 54 Robert Windsor | Defensive Tackle
With the losses of Austin Johnson, Anthony Zettel, and Tarow Barney, Penn State will be looking for help in the interior of the defensive line. While Kevin Givens has received much praise this offseason, fellow 2015 signee Robert Windsor is right in the mix for playing time too. Perhaps most known for literally suplexing an opponent in his high school highlight film, Windsor is strong at the point of attack, but has the quickness to wreak havoc in the backfield. He could stand to add a little more weight, but regardless, he’ll be expected to play next season.
No. 17 Garrett Taylor | Cornerback
Penn State looks to be set at cornerback with Grant Haley, John Reid, and Christian Campbell, but Garrett Taylor should factor in as well. Taylor was just as highly-touted as Reid out of high school, but Taylor tore his ACL in August 2014 and redshirted last season as he came back from the injury. Now that he’s healthy, Taylor will push for the fourth cornerback spot, and will certainly play a crucial role on special teams.
Let us know who you’ll be looking out for in the comments section!