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Only Austin Johnson Until Penn State Football

Our annual summer series kicks off with the only returning interior defensive lineman.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, as a redshirt freshman, Austin Johnson had a lot of hype. He came into the year a Phil Steele preseason honorable mention All-B1G--before playing a down--pretty big expectations for a relatively unheralded across-the-board three star Defensive Tackle out of New Jersey.

While splitting time with Kyle Baublitz alongside new Tennessee Titan DaQuan Jones, Johnson didn't really separate himself too much from a unit that spent much of the year maligned. By many accounts, though, that's going to change this year--as the defensive line is a unit James Franklin has heralded time and again this offseason.

Johnson comes into 2013 having played all 12 games of 2013, notching 27 tackles (14 solo) and 3 TFLs (1 sack). That's okay, especially when you're splitting time--but when you're next to Jones, who was being double and triple teamed most games, those numbers weaken. Johnson definitely progressed as the season went on, though--typical of a young player. Arguably his best game was the entire squad's best--the coming out party against the Badgers in Madison to end the season, where he logged four tackles, three solo.

Here's to an even more hyped 2014, where Johnson will be a more-seasoned player--and a force to be reckoned with, in Jones's old slot.