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8 Penn State Players to Watch at the Blue-White Game

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It's a brand new year, here are a few players who could make a major impact on the team's success in 2016.

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Mark Allen (RB, #8)

Allen is small in stature but plays a big game. He has great explosiveness, is dangerous out of the backfield and is a surprisingly fantastic pass-blocker. While he finds himself in a very crowded backfield, he has the broad skillset and playmaking ability for new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead to find ways to play a major role in the offense moving forward.

Juwan Johnson (WR, #84)

Many expected Johnson to play and ultimately star as a true freshman in 2015, but the coaches decided it was best to redshirt him thanks to the outstanding talent and depth at wide receiver. Now it might be time for Johnson to shine. Johnson, along with fellow redshirt freshman Irvin Charles, has the size and athleticism to really stretch the field. At 6-4, 221 lbs., he will also be a big target that should come to the aid of whichever inexperienced quarterback is ultimately named the starter. While there is plenty of talent at WR and just one ball to go around, Johnson has the potential to be one of the best receivers to ever don a Nittany Lion uniform.

Ryan Bates (C/G, #52)

Bates has been turning heads since arriving at Penn State and is fully expected to challenge for a starting gig in the interior line. It's no secret that the entire line has been a complete disaster thus far in the James Franklin era, and Bates could go a long ways towards turning things around to help Penn State's offense find its identity and reach its full potential now that all units have the depth and talent to make a splash in the Big Ten.

Trace McSorley (QB, #9)

While fans will be watching everyone who steps under center with great anticipation, McSorley has the inside track to the starting job based on being the only experienced quarterback on the roster. The competition is open between him and Tommy Stevens, with true freshman Jake Zembiec hoping to state his case as well. However, McSorley will be doing everything he can to hold off the others and become the man to lead Penn State's offense in 2016.

Torrence Brown (DE, #19)

Penn State will sorely miss the three departing superstars from the 2015 defensive line, but Brown's emergence could help maintain Penn State's high standards upfront. Brown could quickly rise to one of Penn State's leaders on defense now that he is ready to become a full-time starter in 2016.

Nick Scott (DB, #24)

Scott proved himself to be a tough, hard-nosed runner as a redshirt freshman. Now he will try his hand on the other side of the ball thanks to the logjam of talent at the running back position. Scott has been receiving reps at both cornerback and safety during spring ball and seems to have the versatility to excel throughout the secondary. While he isn't likely to receive a starting nod for 2016, he could see major playing time as a redshirt sophomore. Scott is an aggressive player who will have a knack for run-support, and could create a few 'ohs' and 'ahs' with some vicious hits this Saturday and beyond.

Kevin Givens (DT, #30)

Givens has been generating high praise from his teammates and coaches by producing a better-than-advertised spring session. Givens now seems to be in the running for major playing time and could be a major force upfront much sooner than expected. At 267 lbs. he still needs to add some bulk, but a successful 2016 would mean that a major piece of the puzzle for the young DL will be in place for the next several seasons.

Curtis Cothran (DT, #52)

Penn State's success in 2016 will partially hinge on the defensive line, which must face the prospect of replacing three soon-to-be NFL players. The team will need to rely on several new faces to make sure the DL remains a strength, and the development of Cothran will be crucial. As a redshirt sophomore, Cothran showed potential as a key reserve at defensive end. He has been moved to the interior to make up for a lack of depth, but at 262 lbs. it seems plausible that Cothran will line up all across the line as needed in the fall.

That's my shortlist. Who are you most excited to see hit the field on Saturday?