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Staff Picks: Penn State Football’s Breakout ‘Blue-White’ Star

Football is almost back in Happy Valley…kind of.

Penn State football will hold a rebranded Blue-White Game at noon on Saturday, April 17, at Beaver Stadium. The only fans allowed at this year’s game will be freshmen, which is a head-scratching decision for many. Oh, and the game will not be televised.

As weird as this weekend’s scrimmage might be, football is going to be played at Beaver Stadium, and people will be there! With that in mind, our staff made some predictions for breakout stars as this year’s final spring practice.

Connor Krause: Linebacker Kobe King

In extremely limited time on campus as a part of the Nittany Lions’ latest early enrollee cycle, four-star linebacker Kobe King has immediately turned heads in Brent Pry’s group.

After an impressive winter workout circuit, King now stands at 243 pounds and looks the part of an instant impact, plug-and-play Big Ten linebacker. Additionally, the Michigan native recently received praise from James Franklin and teammate Brandon Smith for his tremendous growth and adaptability since arriving in January.

Although the starting linebacker core remains intact from a season ago, King should receive valuable second-team reps Saturday afternoon. The newest No. 41 in Happy Valley should stand out manning the middle, as Sports Illustrated cited his physique as having “a cut-up body that would make most college veterans jealous.”

Gabe Angieri: Tight End Theo Johnson

Following Pat Freiermuth’s departure to the NFL, Theo Johnson has a chance to earn a significant role in Mike Yurcich’s offense. Johnson came to Penn State last year as a four-star recruit and played a limited role as a true freshman that saw him catch just four passes worth 56 yards.

However, he did earn his first career start toward the end of the season, which could certainly be a sign of things to come for the young tight end. I’m expecting Johnson to catch at least one touchdown Saturday and make a few highlights.

Ryan Parsons: Defensive End Nick Tarburton

The buzz surrounding Nick Tarburton has been palpable this offseason. The defensive end originally made his Penn State debut in 2018 but he’s really only played a limited amount of snaps since. He’s struggled with injuries and switched positions so far in his collegiate career but it seems he’s finally back on track.

James Franklin and Dwight Galt have both commented on the “unbelievable offseason” Tarburton’s had so far. The head coach said Tarburton is expected to have a “significant role” in the defense and that Penn State needs him to have a big year. While the defensive end’s hard work has mostly gone unnoticed thus far, the “Blue-White game” might be a great chance for him to show off.

Will Pegler: Quarterback Christian Veilleux

We can’t talk about breakout stars and not discuss a quarterback who wears No. 9. Veilleux, an Ontario native who played his high school ball at The Bullis School in Maryland, arrived in Happy Valley just a few weeks ago as an early enrollee.

The 6’4″ gunslinger obviously has no in-game experience at the college level, which is exactly why he’ll get a ton of opportunities to show off his skills at Beaver Stadium Saturday. As one of just two other scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, Veilleux is going to need to prove what he can do.

Let’s call it an even three touchdown passes on the day for the Canadian, and maybe even a rushing touchdown, too. I’m not kidding, folks. As a highly touted recruit who balled out at a high level of high school football, this kid is the real deal.

Which Nittany Lion do *you* think will turn the most heads Saturday? Let us know in the comments below!

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.

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