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Penn State Preseason Top 10: No. 2 Pat Freiermuth

One of the best tight ends in college football is back for one final go-around.

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

It’s time for our annual season top 10! Each summer, the staff votes on its top 10 players ahead of the upcoming season. A first place vote is worth 10 points, second place is worth nine points, and so on. Because of a tie in voting, there is no number seven in this year’s countdown.

How He Got Here

Pat Freiermuth arrived in Happy Valley in 2018, with Mike Gesicki having just moved on to the NFL, leaving a huge void in the starting spot at tight end. After scoring his first collegiate touchdown at Illinois a few games into his freshman season (in which he tripped after catching a pass wide open at the goal line and barely reached the end zone), Freiermuth grabbed the starting job by the horns and never let go, having a breakout performance against Ohio State the following week, catching three passes for 44 yards and a TD. He would go on to become one of the more reliable set of hands during a year where the receiving corps was plagued by a case of the drops. He would finish the season with 26 catches for 368 yards and eight TD’s.

2019 saw Pat become Sean Clifford’s favorite passing target not named KJ Hamler, catching 43 balls for 507 yards and seven TD’s. This included a 99-yard and two TD performance against Buffalo and a career high 104 yards against Minnesota. Pat continued to establish himself as a guy who could do it all: Catch passes, run block, and pass protect.

What to Expect in 2020

Considering that the likelihood of having a college football season at all is looking slimmer by the day due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we may have already seen Pat suit up in a blue and white uniform for the very last time in last December’s Cotton Bowl. Friermuth was eligible after last season to enter the NFL Draft, thanks to having done a year of prep school prior to coming to PSU. However, he announced after the regular season finale against Rutgers that he was coming back for one more year.

If by some miracle, we do have a 2020 season, expect Pat to once again be Cliff’s safety valve as a receiving target, a reliable pair of hands. Additionally, the thought of him acting as a run blocker to open lanes for whichever of the #LawnBoyz is toting the rock is quite exciting.