James Franklin was asked Wednesday night about how Nick Singleton was just under 200 yards away from 1,000 yards. While Franklin (rightly) basically said that’s not *that* important to him give his focus on just winning the game, his logic does not apply to this lowly blogger.
With there being just three games remaining, we can get a pretty good idea of what the end-of-year stats will look like for Penn State’s offensive skill players by using just a little bit of basic arithmetic.
RB Nick Singleton
Current Stats: 801 yards, 10 TDs
End of Season Projection: 1,041 yards, 13 TDs
RB Kaytron Allen
Current Stats: 631 yards, 8 TDs
End of Season Projection: 820 yards, 10 TDs
Well, well, well, how about that? For all the talk during the offseason about what these freshmen running backs would be, I’d say they both have lived up to expectations and then some. Singleton has shown that home run ability with multiple carries over 30 yards, while Allen’s vision and balance have popped.
What’s been most exciting though is that these last couple of weeks, I think both have shown real developments in their game. Obviously, Singleton has been lauded for keeping things more north-south, but I feel like Allen has been running through more arm tackles as of late as well. Not to say that Allen was going down like Devon Smith circa 2011, but I think there’s been some physical development since early in the season when he was listed at 201 pounds. Just a little bit harder to bring down, which is a good sight to see as the season winds down.
If these projections hold up, they will be the first Penn State running back duo to each run for over 800 yards since Zach Zwinak (989 yards) and Bill Belton (803) did so back in 2013. What makes it doubly impressive is the obvious — these two are just freshmen. Exciting future ahead.
WR Parker Washington
Current Stats: 46 receptions, 611 yards, 2 TDs
End of Season Projection: 60 receptions, 794 yards, 3 TDs
WR Mitchell Tinsley
Current Stats: 39 receptions, 452 yards, 4 TDs
End of Season Projection: 51 receptions, 588 yards, 5 TDs
Given Penn State’s heavier commitment to running the ball this year, it’s no surprise that their top two wide receivers’ stats don’t quite compare to the gaudy stats of Jahan Dotson (91 receptions) and Parker Washington (64 receptions) last year. But all in all, I think the wide receiver play from Washington and Tinsley has been pretty good this year, even if the stats might not look like we thought they might have looked back in August.
While Tinsley has exhausted all his eligibility and will be leaving Happy Valley, I’m interested to see the decision that Washington comes to. He’s played a lot of football at Penn State having broken through as a true freshman in 2020. If the stat projections hold true, he’ll have recorded 160 catches, which would put him in 7th place for career receptions at Penn State — ahead of the likes of Chris Godwin, Jordan Norwood, and Derek Moye. He’d be just 54 receptions behind DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State’s all-time leader in receptions at 214.
Washington’s decision on another year at Penn State or heading to the draft is probably a discussion for another day after the season. But the idea of him playing in an offense that will probably stretch the field a bit more is fun to think about.
Current Stats: 26 receptions, 321 yards, 5 TDs
End of Season Projection: 34 receptions, 417 yards, 6 TDs
Current Stats: 16 receptions, 238 yards, 2 TDs
End of Season Projection: 22 receptions, 327 yards, 3 TDs (11 games)
I’ll be honest, I thought the tight ends weren’t going to be used the way they have been this year. Sure, Yurcich utilized them last year to the tune of 44 receptions for 5 touchdowns. But I thought the tight end group as a whole wasn’t great last year, and with another offseason for Yurcich to really iron out his offense, I thought we’d see less two tight end sets.
I was wrong. The tight ends under Ty Howle have been great in both the passing game and the run game, and Yurcich has done the smart thing and utilized them more. In just 10 games the group has already surpassed last year’s totals, pulling in 51 catches and finding the end zone nine times.
What excites me most about this group is that Theo Johnson is just coming on. He missed the first two games of the season with an injury, and then only record two receptions through the Michigan game. Over the last four contests though, we’ve seen a different Johnson (lol) with the former Top 100 prospect having games of 5, 2, 4, and 3 receptions. Over these last three games, I expect to see more and more of Johnson.
Current Stats: 2184 yards, 17 TDs, 7 INTs
End of Season Projection: 2,839 yards, 22 TDs, 9 INTs
I really don’t mean to pile on Cliff. He seems like a good guy, and someone who has dealt with the harshness of the fan base with class. But, to be completely honest, these are some disappointing numbers for those of us who kept the faith going into the season. I mean, he just never got better over his career, and the stats certainly bear that out.
- 2019 (12 games): 59.2% completion rate, 2,654 yards, and 23 TDs/7 INTs
- 2020 (8 games): 60.6% completion rate, 1,883 yards, and 16 TDs/9 INTs
- 2021 (13 games): 61% completion rate, 3,107 yards, and 21 TDs/8 INTs
Yes, he dealt with quarterback coaching turnover during that time — Rahne in ‘19, Ciarrocca in ‘20, and Yurcich in ‘21 and ‘22. Perhaps that played a part in the lack of his development? But man, third-year Cliff and sixth-year Cliff are pretty-pretty similar.