COVID-19 is surging (again), and the 2020 season is in doubt (again). Renewed discussions have popped up on shortened fall seasons, or perhaps playing in the spring. Never mind that Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour has said that spring football is a last resort, not one that she and many of her other AD colleagues favor, but it is on the table.
But what happens if worse comes to worst? What happens if the season gets canceled outright? No spring ball, no shortened season. Just canceled. 2020 gets called off, and we all reconvene next year.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way - a LOT of players are going to leave for the NFL. Around the country, stars like Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields are headed to play on Sundays for sure. Just here in the blue and white, you have to assume Micah Parsons and Pat Freiermuth are heading out as well.
But assuming the NCAA essentially grants another year of eligibility to, well, everyone, who are the key players that could actually opt to stick around for one more year? The ones that will have their names mentioned as day 2 players for the draft. Could be drafted high, maybe not, could one year help, or would it hurt?
Toney was already debating heading to the NFL this past season, and ultimately decided to stay put. The reason I think he stays one more year is because realistically, nothing will have changed. He’d be a year older, but the same knocks against him would still be present. If he made the choice to return once before, I think he decides to stay one more year.
As a rising junior, Mustipher could have played the 2020 season into a pretty high draft selection. But as it is, only having been a backup, I don’t see him making the leap without at least one season as a starter.
This one may not be very realistic. TCF looked into the NFL last year, and it was a pleasant surprise when he decided to return. Like Toney, nothing will have changed for him on film, but he may decide that it’s better to move on before it’s too late.
The Entire Offensive Line
From left to right, the offensive line is comprised of a RS SO, RS JR, RS SR, RS JR, and RS SR. Literally any one of those guys could head to the NFL, with Rasheed Walker being the most likely to get drafted. But I think they all return for another season. Besides Walker, they need to improve their stock a bit, and after finally being touted as a strength, I think they all want to show it off. The one outlier here may actually be Will Fries, who will have Caedan Wallace pushing for starting time - if, in another year of development, Wallace surpasses Fries, Will may decide to move on.
What say you? Are there any other surprise players that you think would stick it out for a “bonus” year at PSU?