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BSD Spring Practice Roundtable - Part III

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Which player do you think is poised to put it all together and come out of nowhere to have a breakout spring?

RUTS - Justin Brown.  There's a reason Chaz Powell was deemed to be expendable and shipped over to defense.  Okay, two reasons.  First, PSU is low on athletic defensive backs.  Second, there's an overabundance of talented wide receivers on this team.  Derek Moye, Graham Zug, Devon Smith, Brett Brackett, and Curtis Drake all have experience, although many of them are limited in their talents.  Brown can do it all.  I fully expect him to be the third receiver on the field, behind Moye and Zug, once the season gets rolling.

KevinHD -  It's always difficult for me to decide if someone is underground enough to break out, but I'll go with Devon Smith.  I expect a lot of misdirection from the offense this year, mostly because the defensive fronts are so tough in the Big Ten, and he's a natural fit for a lot of those types of formations. He'll hopefully be used to cure some of our special teams woes, and putting him in as a kick returner helps neutralize the size issue. 

Junny -  I'm going to cheat on this answer and say "the third linebacker." In my mind, Mauti and Bani Gbadyu have two spots locked up. That leaves one starting LB spot open, with Chris Colasanti, Nate Stupar, Gerald Hodges, Mike Hull, and Khairi Fortt all in the mix. The sun is setting on Colasanti, who only has this year to prove his worth, and I don't feel Stupar will make the cut. So my breakout player is a young linebacker. Whichever of Hodges/Hull/Fortt (and maybe even Royer) steps up will be an instant Penn State star. All of these guys have incredible skills and I'm excited for all of them to be on the field together in the future. Tell me that a Mauti - Hull - Gbadyu linebacking corps doesn't excite you and I'll call you a liar.

Mike - I really like Stephon Morris. He saw a lot of playing time as a true freshman in the nickel package. I really liked his aggressiveness in jumping routes and in being physical with the reciever. With A.J. Wallace graduating, Morris will most likely lock down a starting spot at cornerback. Teams will probably test him early to see what he's got, so he's going to get opportunities to make plays. I think by the end of the year we'll all walk out of the stadium asking ourselves if he even played because opposing quarterbacks are going to throw to which ever side of the field he's not on.

FTG - I'm looking at Brent Brackett.  His 2009 was drop marred and disappointing, but with that great frame and senior experience, there's no reason he can't put together a solid 2010 to finish his Penn State career.  He'll probably need a good spring with all the depth the Lions have at wide receiver, but his size could make him somewhat of a safety blanket for the young QBs who are certain to make some mistakes, mistakes Brackett can fix by going up and grabbing the football.