The number five jersey has had some special players on its list--Larry Johnson and the almighty Zug, just to name a few--but it's rare to have two such players don any number at the same time. In 2015, the number five will be one to watch no matter what unit is on the field because of two players who've both garnered preseason accolades at their respective positions.
Hamilton was a three-star recruit, the number fourteen player out of the state of Virginia, when he arrived at Penn State a part of the 2013 recruiting class. He redshirted his first year on campus and was virtually an enigma to fans last season before sauntering on the field in Dublin--only to have a breakout game, and a breakout season, leading the Big Ten in receptions and garnering many post-season accolades, despite playing much of the second half of the year injured. Going into the 2014 football season, many wondered who would fill the void left by the departure for the NFL of the often-amazing Allen Robinson--and BaeSean quickly made it known who would step up in #8's place.
Now healthy and with a more experienced, and presumably better, offensive line protecting his much-heralded quarterback, Hamilton is poised for an even better 2015, even if defenses key on him like they did much of the end of last season.
Wartman-White was thrust into action very early on into his Penn State career, seeing time in his first possible game, the 2012 season opening loss to Ohio. The three-star outside linebacker, a top-20 player from NePa, even blocked a punt in that game before going down with a season ending injury a few games later; he petitioned, and was granted, a medical redshirt from the NCAA for that season, and so enters the 2015 season having seen time in three previous seasons, but a redshirt junior in eligiblity.
He's the leading returning tackler off of last year's stellar defense, and will slide to the middle this year after Mike Hull's graduation, where he will call the plays for the D as essentially Bob Shoop's quarterback on the field, along with Jordan Lucas. Despite his relative youth in terms of eligibility, he will anchor the defense in terms of depth and experience--his 20 career starts leading into this year are amongst the highest on that side of the ball.
With his athleticism and ferocity, we've been calling for Wartman-White to breakout for a few years now--and now that he's out from behind Hull's shadow, 2015 is as good a year for that to happen as any.