Now that the long and dreary football off-season is upon us, we're going to do the only thing we have left- speculate wildly about the upcoming season! On Wednesday, Nick took a shot at putting together the 2016 depth chart for the offense. Today, we ponder about what Penn State's defensive depth chart will look like against Kent State on September 3, 2016. We will break this down infinitely more in the coming months, but for now, here's what we think the Nittany Lions defense will look like on opening day.
Starters: Garrett Sickels, Torrence Brown
Reserves (in order): Evan Schwan, Curtis Cothran, Shane Simmons, Kevin Givens, Daniel Joseph, Shaka Toney
Sickels is an obvious choice to return as a starter, and could see a huge leap in productivity as the sole returning starter on the defensive line. Brown's career is reminiscent of Anthony Zettel's first two seasons at Penn State- somewhat buried on the depth chart, but whenever he stepped foot on the field he made everyone take notice. There seems to be a good chance Brown leads Penn State in sacks in 2016 by a wide margin. Schwan has gained valuable experience heading into his junior season and has the potential to develop into a very productive player as an upperclassman. Cothran has been impressive in limited time and will play a much larger role in 2016. The door is open for at least one redshirt or true freshman to break into the regular rotation. SHane Simmons has an extremely high ceiling, but he may likely need to take a redshirt season to add some bulk.
Starters: Parker Cothren, Antoine White
Reserves (in order): Robert Windsor, Ryan Buchholz, Kamonte Carter, Ellison Jordan, Michael Dwumfour
Cothren and White have been effective as part of the two-deep, but each have giant shoes to fill in replacing Zettel and Austin Johnson. Both deservedly enter the offseason as the clear starters at tackle. Buchholz and Carter slide inside to add some much needed depth to the interior. Buchholz has impressive speed for his size and could develop into a Zettel-like presence. He should see plenty of snaps as a redshirt freshman. The overall lack of depth and experience upfront means that Windsor, Jordan and Dwumfour will each need to be prepared to make an impact in 2016- they each should see the field, regardless if they are ready or not.
Starters: SAM- Brandon Bell, MIKE- Jason Cabinda, WILL- Nyeem Wartman-White
Reserves (in order): Manny Bowen, Jake Cooper, Von Walker, Cameron Brown