John Petrishen has not seen any playing time while at Penn State, and it may come as a surprise that he is entering his redshirt sophomore year. Injuries have kept him off the field during his first two years at Penn State. Still, he remains a candidate to replace Malik Golden as a starting safety for the 2017 Penn State Nittany Lions.
Out of all the candidates to start opposite Marcus Allen at safety, Petrishen is the biggest unknown. Training camp may give some hints about what direction the staff is leaning with regard to the second starting safety position, but we have no game-tape to look at to suggest how well he has transitioned from high school to college.
Despite not seeing the field, Petrishen has helped Penn State by improving their recruiting relations within the city of Pittsburgh. CJ Thorpe, rated the #7 offensive guard in 247’s composite ranks shares an alma mater with Petrishen, Central Catholic High School. They played together in High School, and having Petrishen on Penn State’s roster certainly didn’t hurt Matt Limegrovers’ chances of landing Thorpe.
Given his lack of in-game experience, Petrishen seems primed for a year of special teams play before having a legitimate shot at a starting safety position. Sean Fitz shared some encouraging comments regarding Petrishen’s last two years from safeties coach Tim Banks. "He’s sat in all of our meetings, he was super engaged, super smart. I’ve seen him move around, he’s had a really good winter conditioning for us so far. I’m excited about him,” said Banks. “He’s a big-bodied kid, moves better than you think he would at that size. I think he has a chance.
“He stayed engaged even though he wasn’t necessarily ready to play last season. That shows me his maturity level. He could have checked out, but he stayed engaged in all of our meetings and things like that. I’m excited about his maturity and I’m excited to see him this spring.”
Petrishen did not play in the Blue-White game, and remains an unknown quantity. I expect him to make an impact on special teams during the upcoming season, and push for playing time on defense next year if he can stay healthy.