Another Friday, another BSD Roundtable. Today’s topic: what player are you most excited to watch this year?
Strange as it may be, I’m gonna have to say Journey Brown. I expect PSU to be a HEAVY run team, and as much as I like Noah Cain, Devyn Ford, and Caziah Holmes, Journey separated himself at the tail end of 2019. The final piece of the puzzle for him seemed to be just a bit more thiccness to help shed blockers, and if the Cotton Bowl is any indication, he should finally have that strength to go with his speed. I want to see him gash defenses behind what should be one of the better offensive lines the Lions have had since the early 2010s, and take pressure off of the passing game, giving Sean Clifford and the receivers time to sort things out through the air.
As much as I love the LawnBoyz, I’m going to go with Brandon Smith. Given Micah Parsons’ expected absence in 2020, Smith will get more playing time, and his combination of athleticism and physicality will be delightful to watch.
Why, of course, my boy Young Cliff. Sean Clifford, despite what some would say, was pretty damn good last year in his first year as a starter. He was held back a bit by injuries, ineffective wideouts and some curious decisions from Ricky Rahne, but no more! Cliff is now entering his second year as a start and has become a leader for new OC Kirk Ciarrocca. The offense should be run heavy, opening things up a bit for Clifford and stud tight end Pat Freiermuth. I also have some high hopes for TJ Jones, KeAndre Smith-Lambert and John Dunmore as they enter the fray at wide receiver. Expect a big year from Young Cliff.
I’ll go with Jayson Oweh. Some mock drafts have Oweh going in the 1st round. Why? Because he’s an athletic freak. Oweh has flashed at times in his first two years on campus, now looking to be a starter for the first time, big things should be expected from Oweh. He has all the talent needed to be one of the premiere pass rushers in the B1G this season.
Maybe not most excited, but certainly most intrigued: Jahan Dotson. Can he fill the void K.J. Hamler left at wide receiver? Penn State doesn’t need him to be another Hamler, but having the consistency to be a reliable target will definitely ease the minds of folks who think wide receiver is the biggest question mark coming into the season.
I nearly always go with a defensive lineman, but this year my focus is on Journey Brown after his hot streak to end the season. I’m not sure the coaches even know how the carries will be divvied up yet, but Journey is set for a special season with his rapid development and the opportunity to run behind an experienced, bruising line. Like the Cotton Bowl, I’m expecting many runs that make me stop and rewatch several times in a row to fully appreciate.
There’s a lot of great options on this team — it’s probably the most talented team of the Franklin era — but I’m going to go with Pat Freiermuth. He has a chance to cement his place as the best tight end in Penn State history, which is crazy high praise when you consider just how many great tight ends have come through Happy Valley.
More than anything though, it’s just great knowing Pat is back. Last week it was reported that he would be sitting out the season, so to get the awesome news earlier this week that he would be back, made this pick easy for me.
One more year of Baby Gronk. Let’s go.