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ROUNDTABLE: Penn State’s Most Irreplaceable Player on Offense

Which player will be the most essential in helping the Nittany Lions light up the scoreboard this fall?

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

For an offense to be productive, 11 players must work in tandem to get things done. If 10 players execute to perfection, a missed block or dropped pass will still derail a play. However, there’s still that one player who needs to be on the field when to make the offense run on all cylinders. Today, we discuss which player on the Penn State offense would be the most difficult to replace.


Eli: WR KJ Hamler
Hamler was our best receiver last season, and the spark plug every time the offense needed a boost. He can take on more of a D.J. Moore role this season where he sees the ball on every aspect of the offense (and special teams, as he already did last season). Hamler is a big part of the offense this season, and losing him would be nearly catastrophic for the team.

Cari: QB Sean Clifford.
With Tommy Stevens down in Starkville with a load of former PSU staffers, this season basically will live or die on the health of PSU’s only signal caller to have seen time on the field for PSU. He’s got the cockiness and chip on his shoulder to get it done, and this team will follow him wherever this season takes them.

Clay: QB Sean Clifford.
I think Cari hits the nail on the head here. Penn State’s great quarterback depth is suddenly looking very thin. Or at least very young. I have the utmost confidence in Sean Clifford and it appears he and his teammates feel the same way. I also believe Will Levis could be a good quarterback at some point down the line, but not quite yet. So it’s important for the Nittany Lions that Clifford stays healthy, something he’s struggled to do in the past.

Pat: QB Sean Clifford
Feels kind of weird to say a player that has thrown less than 10 career passes as irreplaceable, but quarterback is generally always going to be the most “irreplaceable” spot just because the chances you have two ready-made championship-level quarterbacks on the roster just doesn’t seem likely.

Jared: TE Pat Freiermuth
Sorry to break up the Sean and KJ party, but Penn State’s sophomore tight end will be a much-needed asset as the offense breaks in several talented newcomers. Nick Bowers and Zack Kuntz will also see the field at tight end, but Freiermuth is a step above who has a legitimate shot to be an All-American during his time in Happy Valley. He’ll only improve on a true freshman campaign where he led the team in touchdown catches, and will be a necessity as a big, reliable target for Penn State’s first-year starting quarterback.

Chris L: QB Sean Clifford
I’ll go with Clifford, only because I don’t yet trust our other QBs to take the reins if needed. OL, TE, RB, and WR there are plenty of players available, but QB is worrisome.

bscaff: WR KJ Hamler
You can’t coach speed - and every defensive coordinator knows that.

Lando: QB Sean Clifford
Since I picked up as the breakout player, I have to go with Clifford. This is not to say that I wouldn’t be comfortable with Will Levis or TaQuan Roberson, but Clifford seems to have the whole package.

Marty: WR KJ Hamler
When breaking in a new quarterback a team’s biggest playmaker becomes even more important. That will be the case for KJ Hamler this fall. Hamler has the ability to score every time he has the back in his hands. Penn State may prove to have another player on offense like this — looking at you Ricky Slade — but, for now, Hamler is the guy with the track record of being one of the most electric WRs in the conference. It’s not a coincidence that after he was knocked out of the Ohio State game last year the Nittany Lions offense failed to get those last few first downs or one last score that they needed.