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Projecting Penn State Football’s 2021 Starting Lineup: Wide Receivers, Tight Ends, & Offensive Line

We’re less than a month away from Penn State football, and there’s no shortage of anticipation for this coming season, as the Nittany Lions will open their campaign on the road against Wisconsin.

There’s no question Penn State struggled in 2020, but there’s a lot to be excited about with this 2021 squad. We’ve already looked at the defense, but now it’s time to consider some of the stars the Nittany Lions return on the offensive side of the ball.

Here’s a look at Penn State’s offensive line, wide receivers, and tight ends before kickoff in Madison.

Offensive Line

  • Starters: RT Caeden Wallace, OG Juice Scruggs, C Mike Miranda, OG Des Holmes, LT Rasheed Walker
  • Reserves: Eric Wilson, Landon Tengwall, Anthony Whigan, and Sal Wormley

Considering the depth Phil Trautwein’s group has entering this season, the offensive line could certainly be a strength for the Nittany Lions. The group returns veteran members such as Mike Miranda, Juice Scruggs, and potential first-round NFL Draft talent Rasheed Walker, and will have some promising young talent such as Landon Tengwall.

The offensive line also landed Eric Wilson this offseason, a grad transfer from Harvard. Wilson was named second-team All-Ivy League in 2019, and was projected to be a member of the FCS All-American team in 2020. But when the Ivy League cancelled the Crimson’s 2020 football season, Wilson entered the transfer portal and landed in Happy Valley. He brings experience and depth to an offensive line that needs to improve after allowing 28 sacks in 2020.

Keep an eye out for Des Holmes, Anthony Whigan, and Landon Tengwall to gets snaps along the line this season, as all have impressed during spring ball.

Wide Receiver

  • Starters: Jahan Dotson, Parker Washington, KeAndre Lambert-Smith
  • Reserves: Daniel George, Cam Sullivan-Brown, Malick Meiga, Jaden Dottin, Marquis Wilson, Liam Clifford, and Harrison Wallace

Jahan Dotson leads a young receiving core ready to take the next step this season. Penn State fans were pleased that Dotson decided to come back for his senior season, and for good reason. The senior from Nazareth, Pa., led the team with 884 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020, as well a punt-return touchdown against Michigan State.

The preseason hype around Dotson is real, and many are expecting him to have a big year catching balls from Sean Clifford.

Parker Washington showed signs of greatness this past season as well, as he hauled in 36 receptions worth 489 yards and six touchdowns. The sophomore from Texas, alongside KeAndre Lambert-Smith, were the first true freshman duo to start at wide receiver since Chris Godwin and Saeed Blacknall in 2014. Lambert-Smith had 15 receptions for 138 yards in 2020, but the talented sophomore is poised to take a step forward in 2021 while Dotson gets a lot of attention from opposing defenses.

Fans can also expect some catches from redshirt junior Daniel George, who comes in with seven catches from his 2020 campaign. George offers a lot of talent and gives great depth to the receiving core. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see Cam Sullivan-Brown out on the field in formations, as the redshirt senior brings a lot of experience to the table.

Tight End

  • Starters: Brenton Strange, Theo Johnson
  • Reserves: Tyler Warren, Khalil Dinkins, and Grayson Kline

Penn State took a massive hit when star tight end Pat Freiermuth ended his 2020 season early due to injury. But in his absence, fans got to see what the future of the group looks like in Theo Johnson and Brenton Strange. While they may have big shoes to fill this season, the tight end duo showed some flashed of their potential during last year’s campaign. Strange racked up 17 grabs for 164 yards and two touchdowns, and Johnson grabbed four catches for 56 yards.

Much like when Mike Gesicki left Happy Valley for the NFL in 2018, there’s a big void to fill with Freiermuth gone. However, Strange and Johnson could both have the size and athleticism to quickly make up for that absence.

Rounding out the tight ends, there’s Tyler Warren and Khalil Dinkins. Warren impressed the coaching staff during spring ball, and will be on call to get snaps if the Nittany Lions have to deal with injury. As for Dinkins, the true freshman tight end from Wexford, Pa., brings a lot of potential, but may have to wait his turn in this deep group.

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About the Author

Charles Reinert

Charles Reinert is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. He hails from Norristown, Pennsylvania and is an avid Philadelphia sports fan. He loves playing his guitar, the color blue, and Tetris. If you feel the need to give him any positive or negative feedback, you can follow him on Twitter @charles_rein10 or email him at [email protected]

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