Four Penn State Football Freshmen ‘Green-Lighted’ By James Franklin
Penn State football head coach James Franklin “green-lighted” linebacker Tony Rojas, safety King Mack, and cornerbacks Zion Tracy and Elliot Washington II during his media availability session Tuesday afternoon.
As a result, the four freshmen are expected to play in more than four games, resulting in each player’s likely shed of redshirt eligibility status at the season’s conclusion.
All four pieces were significant components of Penn State’s Class of 2023, which finished ranked No. 14 overall and No. 2 in the Big Ten behind Ohio State, according to 247Sports. Mack, Rojas, and Washington were listed as four-star prospects, while Tracy was a three-star.
While each first-year piece is expected to fill holes or step in for looming injury concerns, Rojas is the lone commodity to display an inkling of his future prowess during his short stint donning the basic blues. During the Nittany Lions’ spring matchup, the rangy linebacker tallied nine total tackles, six solo stops, and a pass breakup.
Meanwhile, Washington and Tracy could anchor defensive coordinator Manny Diaz’s secondary after Terry Smith’s cornerback room is overhauled next season. Originally recruited as a safety, Washington is the higher-rated of the two backend competitors.
247Sports ranked the Florida native as the No. 175 player overall and No. 42 in his state. On the other hand, Tracy was ranked as the No. 69 cornerback and No. 4 in Connecticut but wasn’t nationally ranked.
Mack should also see a healthy portion of on-field action, too. While the third secondary component of the four pieces should sit behind veteran Keaton Ellis and Jaylen Reed at safety, position coach Anthony Poindexter often adheres to a swift rotation.
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“We want to make sure that we have game plans that play to all three of their strengths.”