We’re nearing summer camp starting, and a quick glance at the Penn State roster shows a plethora of playmakers at every position. Generally speaking, the starters should be really good.
The problem, of course, pops up when those starters need a water break, and the backups come on for a play or two, or a series or two.
Looking at the depth chart, one of the biggest needs for the Lions appears to be at wide receiver. There are plenty of bodies with both talent and experience, but having lost Parker Washington and Mitchell Tinsley, the Lions are going to need 1-2 (or more, preferably) of the younger guys to take the next step this year.
MMQB asks - which receiver will take the next step?
After the projected starters of KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Harrison Wallace, and Dante Cephas, there are a bunch of potential candidates.
The two oldest players who could make the next step are Liam Clifford and Malik McClain. Clifford is now a redshirt sophomore (feel old yet?), while McClain is a junior transfer. Liam showed some promise last year, though never broke into the starting rotation. Malik is looking for a fresh start after transferring from Florida State, where he was productive but again never really broke out.
Next, there is a crop of second-year players that will all hopefully vie for more playing time. First is sophomore Omari Evans, who had an excellent showing at the Blue-White Game. A known speedster, he could be the missing ingredient to take the top off defenses. Next up would be redshirt freshman Kaden Saunders, a former 4-star recruit, who needed a year to adjust to college. Anthony Ivey is another former blue chip recruit pushing for playing time. Lastly, Cristian Driver has showed some promise after switching to the receiver position from being a 4-star safety.
It appears that there are plenty of bodies for the Lions, and of course youth will play a part for many of them. But if one or two can take the next step and push the starters for playing time, one of the biggest issues for Penn State in 2023 could become a big ol’ nothing burger. Time will tell!