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Red Shirt Diaries: Class of 2013

It may not be the biggest recruiting class, but there will be redshirts. Lots of them.

Don't expect to see much of Christian Hackenberg next season
Don't expect to see much of Christian Hackenberg next season

The good news about Penn State's 2013 recruiting class is that the sanctions haven't really started to hit the football team all that hard in terms of roster size. For that reason, Bill O'Brien has some flexibility in how he wants to approach Hackenberg, Breneman and the rest of the 2013 class. So who will be redshirted, who won't and who will make an impact next season? Well, let's have a look...

  • Richy Anderson (RB) - Anderson gets brownie points for being a legacy, but the RB position is pretty much set in stone. O'Brien has no problem mixing up his backfield, but it's hard to imagine Anderson getting any time over Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton or Akeel Lynch. VERDICT: Redshirt
  • Brandon Bell (LB) - Penn State really needs depth at linebacker, especially when Mike Hull leaves due to sanctions (#REVERSEJINX). Bell may not be ready to play in 2013, but he may need to be. Hopefully, this doesn't hinder his ability to tweet (@Thee1NonlyBBELL), as he has the best twitter account of all of these recruits. VERDICT: No redshirt, "In Case of Emergency" Linebacker
  • Adam Breneman (TE) - AB is coming off of a torn ACL and plays one of the two deepest positions on Penn State's offense. He could make a huge impact right away and he does have the benefit of enrolling early, but he's probably getting redshirted to get an extra year to heal and learn O'Brien's TE-heavy system. PSU doesn't need a tight end right away, anyway. VERDICT: Redshirt
  • Curtis Cothran (WDE) - Cothran is a long, athletic defensive end, but is insanely raw. Defensive end may also be Penn State's most loaded position this season. You really shouldn't expect to see anything from this guy this season, but keep an eye out for him in the future. VERDICT: Redshirt
  • Parker Cothren (SDE) - Cothren is a massive human being. Like, holy Jesus, this dude is huge. ESPN has him at 6'5", 265 lbs. He could possibly get Baublitz'd, which means that you're so huge that you get moved from DE to DT. As for now, like Cothran, he will probably fall victim to PSU's DE depth. VERDICT: Redshirt
  • Tyler Ferguson (QB) - His experience gives him an edge over Hackenberg. Ferguson has played college football, Hackenberg hasn't. Ferguson also has been on campus learning the playbook/working with the offense while Hackenberg is in high school. Also, redshirting a JuCo QB over a freshman doesn't make much sense. He may not beat out Bench for the starting job, but he's not getting redshirted, either. VERDICT: No redshirt, backup QB
  • Kasey Gaines, Neiko Robinson (Safety) - Keep an eye on both of these guys. PSU's safety position is pretty thin, so there's a good chance that both of these guys make it on the team, whether as safeties or as special team guys. VERDICT: No redshirt, both start on special teams, get time in the secondary
  • Christian Hackenberg (QB) - If Hack was able to enroll early and spend all winter/spring learning the offense, he'd probably be the favorite to be the starter in 2013. However, he is going to be the most inexperienced guy out of the Hackgusbench troika. This would be fine if PSU didn't have an insanely complex system. Plus, sitting him a year potentially gives him an extra bowl game. VERDICT: Redshirt
  • DaeSean Hamilton (WR) - Hamilton will, in all likelihood, fall victim to how good Penn State's receiving corps is projected to be. Allen Robinson is a stud, Brandon Moseby-Felder and Alex Kenney both have a good understanding of the offense and Eugene Lewis could potentially end the season as the #2 WR behind Robinson. Hamilton has the potential to be really good. Just not this year. VERDICT: Redshirt
  • Tanner Hartman, Brendan Mahon, Andrew Nelson (OL) - The problem with all of the offensive line recruits is that PSU's o-line goes two deep at every position, and that's before we get to run-ons. Maybe one of these guys isn't redshirted for extra depth, but don't count on it. VERDICT: Three guys, three redshirts
  • Zayd Issah (LB) - I saw Issah play basketball against State College High School. The guy is an athletic freak, he literally jumped over someone to grab a rebound. He also needs to bulk up in the worst way. Give him a season with Fitz. He'll be the next Hodges (yeah, I said it). VERDICT: Redshirt
  • Garrett Sickels (WDE) - Of all of the defensive ends recruited in this class, Sickels is the most likely to play in 2013. The defensive end position has scary depth, but Sickels is so good that he could unseat some people. Look for him to get some time, especially rushing the passer on third downs as Deion Barnes's bookend. VERDICT: No redshirt, Big Ten DROY candidate
  • Anthony Smith, Jordan Smith (CB) - Jeff touched on this in his position preview: Jordan Smith has received some praise for working out with NaVorro Bowman and Derrick Williams. However, both guys could see time, both because of the lack of depth in the secondary and because both are currently enrolled at PSU. VERDICT: Neither are redshirts, both get some time, but Jordan Smith gets a leg up because of the NaVorrick Williman connections