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Penn State Football Cornerback Cristian Driver Converting To Wide Receiver

True freshman cornerback Cristian Driver will convert to wide receiver full-time at the end of this season, as announced by head coach James Franklin after practice Wednesday.

Driver, the son of longtime Green Bay Packers star receiver Donald Driver, was recruited as a two-way player. Despite his July 2021 commitment and roster spot being categorized at defensive back, the Nittany Lion coaching staff has always had an eye toward his offensive potential.

Driver recently held meetings with Franklin and wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield about his future, which led to the decision to change positions.

“We gave him the option to start off at [defensive back], and if we or he felt more comfortable moving to the offensive side of the ball, he would have that opportunity to try out both,” Stubblefield said at a press conference Thursday.

Despite Driver’s positional fluidity, the original goal was for him to play defensive back.

“We recruited him with the idea that he could play offense or defense,” Franklin said. “Our plan was specifically safety and we wanted to kinda train him like we did Zakee [Wheatley], start him at corner and then transition to safety to fill that work.”

“As the year’s gone on, he feels more comfortable at wide receiver,” Franklin continued.

Penn State’s head coach made it clear that although Driver will eventually make his change, this season’s priorities may call for the hybrid student-athlete to step onto the field in a defensive capacity.

“Based on some depth and some injuries, we’ve said ‘towards the end of this year, we’ll split time with you, help you get some work and get started at wideout, but we still need you to know what’s going on defensively,'” Franklin said. “So he’s kind of splitting time during the week, but the plan is for moving forward that he’ll be at wide receiver.”

With Driver’s move to wide receiver, the Nittany Lions now boast five freshman pass catchers from the class of 2022: Omari Evans, Kaden Saunders, Tyler Johnson, Anthony Ivey, and Driver.

So far this season, only Evans has burned his redshirt, recording four receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown – his and Drew Allar’s first career scores.

Elsewhere, Saunders and Driver have appeared in a pair of games, though Driver’s snaps did not come at receiver. Neither Johnson nor Ivey have yet logged a snap.

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About the Author

Sam Fremin

Sam is a senior from Ashburn, Virginia, majoring in journalism and political science & minoring in German and creative writing. He is a Dallas Cowboys fan who relishes the misery of Eagles fans. All hate messages can be sent to [email protected] or @SamFremin on Twitter.

He may or may not read every single comment he gets.

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