Staff Predictions: 2017 Blue-White Star Performer
Penn State football is finally back this weekend for the Blue-White game. After a long offseason, James Franklin’s squad heads into Beaver Stadium on Saturday with a number of familiar faces, and quite a few other players hoping to make the most of this fresh chance to start 2017.
We’re pretty sure Penn State is going to win the spring game, so our sports staff decided to make predictions on which player will have a performance to remember.
Ethan Kasales: Shareef Miller
The redshirt sophomore out of Philly, who’s projected by many to start at defensive end opposite Torrence Brown, has a great opportunity to make a splash. Though we won’t see any quarterback hits, Miller’s pass-rushing skills should be on full display nonetheless. I think he’ll finish with two sacks and another tackle for loss.
Anthony Colucci: Tommy Stevens
Every time he got onto the field last season, he seized the opportunity and made big plays. James Franklin keeps talking about how strong of an offseason Stevens has had and how confident the team is in its top two quarterbacks so I’m excited to see how he has progressed and how reliable he’ll be as a backup to Trace McSorley this year.
After his rough Beaver Stadium debut a year ago in the Blue-White game and without the pressures of a legitimate position battle, Stevens will be much more comfortable leading the Penn State offense and will add to his limited, yet impressive, highlight reel.
Joe Pickard: Juwan Johnson
Johnson saw limited action in the 2016 season as a redshirt freshman, but made the most of it making some impressive plays. Look for Franklin and Moorhead to test the wide receivers this weekend to find a worthy successor to Chris Godwin. Johnson has been praised for making some noise in spring ball and will no doubt aim to prove it to the fans during Blue-White.
Steve Connelly: Miles Sanders
In a Blue-White game that’ll probably be missing Saquon Barkley in the backfield, expect this rising sophomore to see some success in his first spring game. James Franklin has lauded Sanders for a physical and mental maturation this offseason, but no one player in the trio of backs behind Barkley has separated himself since practice began. I believe a big-play guy like Sanders will have a spectacular run or two to finally break out.
Elissa Hill: Connor McGovern
In his first opportunity to shine as Brian Gaia’s successor at center, the converted guard will make a statement in his position battle with a smooth performance at the Blue-White game. It took Gaia some time to adjust to the constant shotgun setup last season, but Franklin’s primed McGovern for the past couple months to take over the role and hasn’t backed down. The sophomore will likely make good on that vote of confidence this weekend.