Players Who Improved Their Stock (Or Didn’t) During Blue-White
Despite this past weekend’s Blue-White festivities being hardly more than a glorified scrimmage, the 65,000 fans who turned out last Saturday enjoyed an encouraging glimpse of how far Penn State has come, especially on offense, since the TaxSlayer Bowl.
The Nittany Lions’ upcoming performances in summer camp will hold more weight than a single spring practice, but some players undoubtedly turned a few heads, while others struggled to execute with all-important reps on the line.
Trace McSorley | Quarterback | Redshirt sophomore
The Ashburn, Va., playmaker took command of the Blue (first-team) offense by simply not trying to do too much and allowing Joe Moorhead’s uptempo system to create opportunities for him to find one of the many talented receivers at his disposal with high-percentage throws. McSorley completed 23-of-27 passes (85 percent), with four touchdowns and an interception, far more efficient numbers than what we typically saw from the Penn State attack the past two seasons. However, the quarterback competition isn’t over just yet.
Noah Beh | Right tackle | Redshirt sophomore
Beh, who spent his first two years on campus getting his frame and mentality ready for the Big Ten, far exceeded expectations this spring by making a charge past senior Paris Palmer for the Blue team starting right tackle nod Saturday. The Moscow, Pa., native looks completely different from when he first stepped foot on campus in summer 2014, as he’s listed at a stout 6-foot-6, 286 pounds with room to grow before the season opener on Sept. 3 against Kent State.
Kevin Givens | Defensive tackle | Redshirt freshman
Givens’ stock underwent a meteoric rise this spring after flying somewhat under the radar as a recruit out of Altoona, Pa. It’s been about 10 months since the 6-foot-1, 267-pounder arrived at University Park, but in that amount of time, Givens has switched positions from defensive end to tackle and even saw significant snaps with the “ones” in spring ball. By recording five total tackles (3.5 for loss and two sacks) on Saturday — the most of any Blue team defender — Givens introduced himself to the Nittany Lion faithful in spectacular fashion. Expect him to factor heavily into the depleted defensive tackle rotation this fall.
Paris Palmer | Right tackle | Senior
Beh’s gain turned out to be Palmer’s loss, as the former JUCO transfer from Plymouth, N.C. was relegated to second-team right tackle duties after Andrew Nelson took over the blind side. Though the 6-foot-7, 302-pounder has come a long way since last winter, he’ll need to put together a strong next few months if he’s going to compete for a starting job on Matt Limegrover’s new-look line.
Curtis Cothran | Defensive tackle | Redshirt junior
Cothran, who hails from Newtown, Pa., made the move inside from defensive end this offseason after spending his first three years on campus at the position to help compensate for the loss of Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel. The transition appears to be coming along alright, but Cothran still has to pack on some more weight before September to truly compete for a spot on the two-deep, as he’s currently 6-foot-5, 262 pounds. A summer full of trips to the training table, the team’s private dining hall in Pollock, and time spent with Dwight Galt in the performance enhancement program should certainly help.
Tyler Davis | Kicker | Redshirt junior
Joey Julius didn’t participate in Saturday’s scrimmage, leaving Davis to receive the majority of the reps at kicker for the Nittany Lions. While his kickoff abilities looked somewhat improved from 2015, Davis pushed his lone field goal attempt wide left from 41 yards out. If the St. Charles, Ill., native and former Bradley University soccer standout can’t show more consistency moving forward, incoming freshman Alex Barbir will have an even easier path to the starting job.