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Player I’m Most Excited For This Spring: Safety Kevin Winston


With Penn State’s spring practice in full swing, the BSD staff sat down and discussed some under the radar players we are most excited to hear about and eventually see in action this spring. First up: sophomore safety Kevin Winston.

Penn State signed a star-studded 2022 recruiting class that wasted little time making an impact in Happy Valley. You had Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen running wild for the offense, while Abdul Carter fit into that No. 11 jersey rather nicely. Fortunately for Penn State, there’s more to the 2022 class than just those who broke through the depth chart as true freshman. With a full season and offseason under their belts, multiple other players from that class will start to make their own impact at Penn State this coming season.

One player in particular from the 2022 class that I liked was Kevin Winston, the 6-foot-2, 204-pound safety from DeMatha Catholic. While he didn’t have the highest of ratings from the recruiting service — a low four-star from 247 — he was very highly thought of amongst the Penn State recruitniks. Here at BSD, we had Winston as a 6th or 7th ranked member of the class, and thought he would eventually turn into an all-conference player. I even added him to my Goo-Goo Gah-Gah Team in January.

Lofty praise and expectations for sure, but Winston’s high school film showcased his potential to be an all-around safety; someone who could come up and lay the wood in the run game, while having the speed and instincts to play deep coverage in the middle of the field.

Winston’s first year on campus was a quiet one — he only saw 94 snaps on defense — but that was to be expected given the players (Ji’Ayir Brown, Keaton Ellis, Jaylen Reed, and Zakee Wheatley) in front of him. Still, despite the fact that safety was largely taken care of, Winston impressed enough to earn a special teams role and saw his redshirt burn with it.

That might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but James Franklin isn’t burning a redshirt for a non-rotational player very often. The fact Penn State was making a concerted effort to get Winston on the field, even in limited snaps, speaks to what they think of him moving forward.

Heading into 2023, I imagine the hope for Penn State is to once again have a quartet of safeties in the backend, with Winston being the prime candidate to join Ellis, Reed, and Wheatley. How Winston does this spring will be a big part of that because for the size and athleticism and how he impressed in workouts over the winter, it still has to translate consistently on the field.

If it does, not only will Winston be a big boost for the entire secondary, but he’s someone who has the potential to be the best safety on the field. For a Penn State program with championship aspirations, that ability to “level up” at an already strong position could be key to getting over the hump.