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Penn State Football Preseason Top 10: #8 Mitchell Tinsley

Penn State appears to have snagged themselves a great one from the transfer portal

Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley (5) is tackled short of the goal line by safety Keaton Ellis (2) during the Blue White spring game at Beaver Stadium. The defense defeated the offense 17-13. Matthew OHaren-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.

Reminder: This is a Top 10 for how the players will produce this season. It’s not just based on what they have done in their career up to this point. Instead, it’s how we think they will play this coming season.

How He Got Here

Mitchell Tinsley came to Penn State by way of Western Kentucky, where he played his first two years of college football for the Hilltoppers. His freshman year in 2020 saw him catch 43 passes for 377 yards and four touchdowns, which set the tone for his breakout 2021 season where he caught 87 balls for 1,402 yards and 14 TD’s. He was Hilltopper quarterback Bailey Zappe’s favorite target by far, providing a reliable set of hands who was a smooth route runner that could get the behind the defense to allow Zappe to beat them over the top, or make a grab in space and pick up significant yards after the catch.

Tinsley notably had four games last season in which he went over 100 yards receiving, including a seven-catch, 127-yard performance against Michigan State. He also faced another future fellow Big Ten foe in Indiana, catching four balls for 68 yards against the Hoosiers.

What to Expect in 2022

There is a reason Mr. Tinsley is rocking Jahan Dotson’s old No. 5 jersey already. You can sharpie him in as the starting ‘X’ receiver that Dotson previously held down and considering how well he held his own against a couple teams PSU faces on a yearly basis, the leap from the Sun Belt to the Big Ten should not be an issue with him. He had a chance to showcase his stuff in the Blue-White Game and thus far, it seems like James Franklin and staff landed themselves a pretty darned good one from the transfer portal. If he can develop the same chemistry with Sean Clifford that he developed with Zappe, then the sky’s the limit for him.