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Penn State Releases First Depth Chart of Season

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Noah Cain steps in at RB1 and some interesting names start at wide receiver.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Memphis v Penn State Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

With just four days remaining until Penn State kicks off its season at Indiana, the Nittany Lions released their week one depth chart on Tuesday.

The most glaring omission is that of Journey Brown, who reportedly could miss the entire season with an undisclosed health issue.

Into the RB1 slot steps sophomore Noah Cain, who started a handful of games last season before picking up an injury. He’s expected to split reps with fellow sophomore Devyn Ford as well as freshmen Keyvone Lee and Caziah Holmes.

Sean Clifford, unsurprisingly, starts at quarterback and has the benefit of returning his entire offensive line from a year ago, with Rasheed Walker, Michael Miranda, Michal Menet, CJ Thorpe and Will Fries comprising the starters up front. Caedan Wallace and Des Holmes are expected to rotate in throughout the season.

Also unsurprisingly, Jahan Dotson starts at one of the three wide receiver spots after a strong sophomore campaign. Alongside him, however, are some mild surprises. After returning from injury, Cam Sullivan-Brown takes a starting spot in what he hopes can be a breakout season. The third starting spot at wideout goes to a true freshman. It isn’t however, KeAndre Lambert-Smith, who received rave reviews in the offseason, but rather Parker Washington. Washington had an extremely productive high school career in Texas and is expected by many to adjust to the college ranks fairly quickly.

Lastly on offense, Mackey Award contender Pat Freiermuth gets the nod at tight end, while Brenton Strange somewhat surprisingly takes the No. 2 spot on the chart ahead of Zack Kuntz.

Defensively, it all starts with the front four. Antonio Shelton and PJ Mustipher make up one of the more beefy defensive tackle pairings in recent history for PSU, while Shaka Toney and Jayson Oweh bring the heat off the edge.

With Micah Parsons opting out, Jesse Luketa steps into the starting spot at WILL alongside Ellis Brooks at MIKE and Brandon Smith, who many expect to have a big sophomore season, at SAM.

The biggest eyebrow raiser in the secondary is the presence of sophomore Joey Porter Jr. at starting corner opposite Tariq Castro-Fields. Porter Jr. played well in sparing game time as a true freshman, but preserved his redshirt. He jumped over true sophomores Keaton Ellis and Marquis Wilson, who both burned their redshirts and should see plenty of time this year, to grab the starting spot. Jaquan Brisker, sporting a new number, and Lamont Wade make up your starting safety duo.

On special teams, Jake Pinegar returns to do the field goal kicking while Jordan Stout resumes his kickoff duties and takes over at punter for the departed Blake Gillikin. Jahan Dotson will handle punt returns, while Devyn Ford is the deep man on kickoffs with Lamont Wade as the up man.