Three New Names: Penn State Nittany Lions
You know about linebacker Micah Parsons, tight end Pat Freiermuth and running back Journey Brown in Penn State’s lineup, but who might be ready to emerge with them in 2020? Here are three contenders given to use by Mark Wogenrich from AllPennState.com.
WR Daniel George
Penn State has had trouble turning its big outside receivers into stars lately. In the past few years, Justin Shorter and Juwan Johnson transferred, and Irv Charles was dismissed from the team. That opened opportunities for receivers like KJ Hamler and Jahan Dotson, but Penn State missed that big target in its offense. Perhaps Daniel George can change that.
George, a 6-2 redshirt sophomore, entered Penn State’s record book as a freshman in 2018, when he caught a 95-yard touchdown pass – the longest pass play from scrimmage in school history. He started four games last year, making nine catches, and showed glimpses of being able to stretch the field. New offensive Kirk Ciarrocca really took advantage of his receivers at Minnesota, which should present an opportunity for George. With Dotson returning to the slot, George has a chance to be a factor outside.
DE Jayson Oweh
Oweh, a junior, famously landed on The Athletic’s college football “freaks” list in 2019 after running a (reported) 4.33 40-yard dash. Quite a time for a 6-5, 257-pound defensive end.
Oweh’s strength-size-speed combination is outrageous. He applied that in Penn State’s defense last year, playing in all 13 games and starting one. Oweh emerged against Michigan State, generating two strip sacks and forcing a fumble. He also had a sack in the Cotton Bowl. With Yetur Gross-Matos in the NFL, Oweh and fellow defensive end Adisa Isaac will join Shaka Toney to give Penn State a strong group of pass-rushers. But Oweh could deliver the star turn.
LB Brandon Smith
The sophomore is one of the best pure linebackers Penn State has recruited under James Franklin. He’s 6-3, 240 with a skillset and mindset to play all three spots. He’s currently slotted to play outside opposite Micah Parsons, giving Penn State an imposing combination. Smith is a jarring hitter, something he put on display as a true freshman last year. Smith played in 13 games, making a season-high four stops against Purdue, and delivering in relief of former starter Cam Brown. Penn State benefited from easing Smith into the rotation last season. Now, he’s ready to emerge.