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Redshirt Report: Midseason Review and Grades

Half the season is over which means it’s grading time for the freshmen.

NCAA Football: Kent State at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State has officially finished half of its regular season schedule, meaning we have a full six games to now grade the true freshmen.

Redshirt Burned (7)

Each of these players has appeared in five or more games this season, meaning they are now officially ineligible to redshirt this season under the NCAA’s new redshirt rules.

K Rafael Checa

Against Michigan State, Checa had another solid performance with his kickoff duties as he had three touchbacks in his four kickoffs. He now has nine touchbacks on his last ten kickoffs. For the first half of the season, Checa has been strong and consistent. Showing consistent improvement as well, the Maryland native has 24 touchbacks on 44 kickoffs with just three going out of bounds.

Grade: A- / B+

TE Pat Freiermuth

Perhaps the star true freshman of the first half for the Nittany Lions, Freiermuth had a quieter day in the Nittany Lions loss to Michigan State. The stud tight end ended up with three catches for 32-yards on the day.

For the season, Freiermuth has 10 receptions for 121-yards and two touchdowns. After not recording any stats in the season opener against Appalachian State, Freiermuth has been a consistent contributor offensively and has taken over the starting role at tight end, a testament to his hard work and the potential he has on the field.

Grade: A+

LB Jesse Luketa

The linebacker from north of the border recorded his first tackle since the Illinois game against the Spartans on Saturday. Luketa had a rather quiet first half, with just five tackles on the season. That being said, Luketa when on the field has looked natural and has rarely been a liability, a good sign going forward. That being said, we’d like to see a lit bit more production out of him.

Grade: C+

LB Micah Parsons

After recording just one tackle against Ohio State, Parsons came back against Michigan State and put together a decent stat line. The Harrisburg product finished the day with five total tackles and one quarterback hurry.

Parsons has been tremendous the first half of this season for the Nittany Lions, all things considered. After his first six games, Parsons is making a strong case for being a Freshman All-American as he’s tied for fourth on the team in tackles with 28, to go along with one tackle for a loss, half-a-sack, and three quarterback hurries. He still at times looks like a true freshman and someone who has only played linebacker for a few months but Parsons has lived up to all expectations so far without a doubt.

Grade: A-

K Jake Pinegar

Pinegar went one-for-two against Michigan State, making a chip shot while missing 37-yard attempt. As a scholarship kicker, you’re expected to perform and that’s simply something that the Iowa native has struggled with this season. With just making four-of-eight field goal attempts, the coaching staff may have to look another direction for the remainder of the season. All that being said, credit is deserved in terms of not missing an extra point yet this season. (*knocks on wood*)

Grade: D-

DT P.J. Mustipher

The highly-touted defensive tackle out of Maryland recorded two assisted tackles against Michigan State last Saturday after not playing against Ohio State the week before. Mustipher hasn’t put up a ton of numbers this season, but has been a consistent presence on the defensive line.

Through his first five games, the four-star defensive tackle has eight tackles. He’s only going to get better and better with more experience as he continues to develop and there’s a lot to like about how he’s played so far this season. That being said, we would like to see a lot more statistical production out of him.

Grade: B

RB Ricky Slade

Slade had one carry for eight yards against Michigan State after being absent against Ohio State. The five-star running back this season has been up-and-down but the coaching staff has to like the overall production. Despite having his fair share of fumbling problems, Slade has 26 carries for 155-yards and four touchdowns this season. That being said, he has to learn how to hold onto the football consistently.

Grade: B

Yellow (3)

DE Jayson Oweh/DE Nick Tarburton

With both Oweh and Tarburton are two games a piece, it seems likely that each won’t surpass the four-game threshold to burn their redshirts.

WR Justin Shorter

Shorter has still just played in one game, but with the struggles the wide receiving corps has had...maybe it’s time to give Shorter some run? Like we’ve been saying, though, it’s becoming likelier and likelier that Shorter redshirts.

Red (5)

These five players may see a bit of playing time here-and-there, but we don’t expect to see them on the field much the remainder of the year unless the injury bug bites in a big way.

OT Rasheed Walker

Walker has appeared in one game this season, but after getting in legal trouble this season, the chances of him appearing again before next season seem slim to none.

WR Jahan Dotson

After having a tremendous camp prior to the season, we have shockingly seen very little of Dotson this season, as he’s appeared in just one game.

TE Zach Kuntz

The higher-rated tight end of last year’s recruiting class, Kuntz has a bright future but still has to develop more physically before he sees playing time on a regular basis. He appeared in one game this season and recorded one reception for eight-yards.

WR Daniel George

The thickly built George has appeared in one game, but made it count. He recorded the longest touchdown reception in Penn State history when he was on the receiving end of a 96-yard touchdown pass from Sean Clifford.

CB Trent Gordon

The Texas native appeared in one game this season, recording one tackle in the process.

The Real Reds (7)

These remaining seven players have not seen playing time this season, and it appears doubtful that they’ll see the field at all in 2018.

QB Will Levis

OG Bryce Effner

OG Juice Scruggs

DT Aeneas Hawkins

DT Judge Culpepper

LB Charlie Katshir

S Isaiah Humphries