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Meet Receiver Mitchell Tinsley, Penn State's New No. 5

How is Tinsley similar to Jahan Dotson? 'They make special plays,' quarterback Sean Clifford said.

STATE COLLEGE | Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford spent three years throwing to No. 5. He has thrown more touchdowns to that No. 5 than any quarterback-receiver combination in school history.

Now, Clifford has a new No. 5. They're teammates and spring roommates and are forming another potentially special quarterback-receiver relationship. Clifford calls both "electric" and "special."

Mitchell Tinsley isn't Jahan Dotson, though he reminds Clifford of Dotson in plenty of ways.

"I see a lot of similarities," Clifford said after Penn State's Blue-White Game at Beaver Stadium.

Penn State introduced Tinsley at the Blue-White Game, where he caught two passes (one for a touchdown) and made a deft move to convert a first down on a third-and-long drill. Tinsley's transfer was among the key offseason moves Penn State made.

Like Clifford, Tinsley is a college football veteran, playing for his third program in six years. He spent the past two seasons at Western Kentucky, where he wore No. 5 in college football's most prolific passing offense.

Western Kentucky led the nation with 6,072 passing yards, and quarterback Bailey Zappe broke NCAA single-season records for passing and touchdowns. Tinsley was among his top targets.

Tinsley caught 87 passes for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns and was one of 15 college wideouts to average 100 yards receiving per game. Tinsley (100.1 ypg) ranked 15th nationally in that category. Dotson (98.5) was 16th.

At Penn State, Clifford has been fortunate to develop close relationships with two receivers: KJ Hamler and Dotson. As offensive veterans, Clifford and Tinsley sought to accelerate their rapport-building by living together this spring.

"He's just a great guy," Clifford said. "He's my roommate, and [there's] really good chemistry with him so far. We're excited for the summer, because I know he's chomping at the bit. We were talking already about offseason plans."

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Penn State coach James Franklin said that Tinsley (6-1, 203) has brought a veteran presence to the receivers' room, helping it compensate for Dotson's departure. Though Tinsley didn't come to Penn State to replace Dotson, he will remind fans of the 2021 All-American. Because Clifford said Tinsley reminds him of Dotson in several ways.

Clifford called Tinsley "electric," a word he used often to describe Dotson. Clifford also said that Tinsley "makes the big plays when they matter," which Dotson did as well.

"Mitch and Jahan have very similar characteristics," Clifford said. "Both [are] crafty in their routes, both can catch the ball, both can catch in traffic and both are special. They make special plays."

Those offseason plans Clifford and Tinsley have discussed include an upcoming team "discretionary period" that the quarterback called anything but discretionary.

"We'll have three weeks of player-led stuff," Clifford said. "It's mandatory for us. it's not mandatory from the coaches, it's not mandatory from the strength staff, no one's telling us to do anything. It's mandatory for us because we know the talent we have and we know what we can do this year. So guys are chomping at the bit.

"I just told them. when we come back, we have a plan, we have a purpose and we're here to beat Purdue that week 1. So we'd better start working at it."

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AllPennState is the place for Penn State news, opinion and perspective on the network. Publisher Mark Wogenrich has covered Penn State for more than 20 years, tracking three coaching staffs, three Big Ten titles and a catalog of great stories. Follow him on Twitter @MarkWogenrich. And consider subscribing (button's on the home page) for more great content across the network.