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Jordan Stout With Multiple Opportunities To Step In Immediately On Penn State’s Special Teams

Penn State football added a little more competition to its group of kickers when Jordan Stout announced his transfer from Virginia Tech.

Stout walked on with the Hokies, and he’ll be immediately eligible to step in for the Nittany Lions. The redshirt sophomore will be on scholarship and has three years of NCAA eligibility remaining. After having a strong 2018 season in Blacksburg, Penn State’s newest addition should have an opportunity to compete for snaps this season. At the very least, he ups the overall talent in the room and gives Penn State considerable depth on special teams, something it hasn’t always enjoyed in recent years.

Here’s how he could potentially factor in for James Franklin’s program this year and beyond.

Kickoff Specialist

If Jordan Stout is going to step into Penn State’s starting lineup immediately, he’ll do it by taking over kickoff duties from Rafael Checa.

Stout was one of the nation’s best kickoff specialists in 2018. Sixty-one of his 70 kickoff tries went for touchbacks, which ranked fourth in the nation. He routinely forced opposing offenses to get started at the 25-yard line. Penn State’s kickoff unit wasn’t a glaring weakness last season, but inserting Stout into the lineup would be an improvement from Rafael Checa on paper.

As a freshman, Checa booted 37 touchbacks on 79 kickoff attempts in 2018. Those numbers aren’t all that bad, and they’ll probably improve if he manages to hold onto his role as the team’s kickoff ace. All six of the rising sophomore’s kickoffs during the White Out game against Ohio State went for touchbacks, so Checa proved he can perform on a huge stage.

Penn State adding Stout to its special teams unit will create a healthy competition for the kickoff specialist job. Competition is a great thing to have at any position, and whoever wins out in the end will truly earn their role. Plus, it’s always nice to have depth in the event of an injury.

Punter

Interestingly, Stout is listed as a kicker and punter by Virginia Tech. Don’t be fooled, though — he isn’t taking Blake Gillikin’s job anytime soon.

During his first three years, Gillikin has proved time and again that he’s one of the nation’s best punters. He pinned teams inside their 20-yard lines 24 times, and he sent the ball at least 70 yards on three different occasions in the 2018 season. He’s also the only Penn Stater ever with six punts longer than 65 yards. Barring unforeseen circumstances, he will get back to launching footballs in 2019 before leaving for the NFL or medical school or both.

When Gillikin does graduate, Stout will still have two years of eligibility left, so he’s a logical choice to fill Gillikin’s shoes once he leaves Penn State gets picked first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft (That sounds like a well-utilized No. 1 pick to me).

This also feels like a good time for a really important reminder: Punters are people, too.

Placekicker

Of all the kicking duties a specialist can have, Stout has the least experience in field goal/extra-point duties.

He’s made four extra points in his career — two against Pitt and another pair against William & Mary. Stout’s only field goal attempt at the collegiate level was a 43-yarder against Virginia, and he missed it. Don’t expect the transfer to take over for Jake Pinegar anytime soon.

Pinegar had a good freshman year by all accounts. The rising sophomore went 16-for-24 on field goals, including an excellent game against Iowa. He made all three of his field goal tries — all of which came from at least 44 yards — as Penn State picked up a desperately-needed 30-24 victory. Pinegar is the first Nittany Lion placekicker to score more than 100 points as a freshman. On top of his 16 field goals, he drilled 53 out of his 55 extra point attempts for the Nittany Lions.

Stout filling in as Penn State’s full-time placekicker is a bit of a concern, given his lack of experience. That said, he has some experience in the role and isn’t completely uninitiated to the concept of splitting the uprights at the collegiate level.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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