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Who's Starting on Penn State's Offense This Season? Our Picks

The Lions' 2022 offense will introduce new talent alongside familiar names.
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Penn State's offense returns five players who started every game last season, but the newcomers (as often happens) are drawing plenty of attention.

How much can freshman running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen contribute? What's the ceiling for new receiver Mitchell Tinsley? Is Landon Tengwall ready for his moment on the line?

Penn State has a pretty good idea who will start offensively for the Sept. 1 opener at Purdue, and we do as well. Here are our projections for the Lions' starting lineup when they meet the Boilermakers in West Lafayette.

Quarterback: Sean Clifford

Those hoping one of the freshmen might overtake Clifford will have to wait. The sixth-year starter will make his 34th career start against Purdue. You don't dismiss that kind of experience in a Big Ten road opener.

Running back: Keyvone Lee

Lee started five games last year, including the last four, and finished as the team's leading rusher. Of course, Penn State has proven since 2019 that the starter doesn't necessarily get the most carries. Expect position coach Ja'Juan Seider to play at least three backs, of whom one definitely will be Singleton.

Receiver: Parker Washington

Though limited during spring practice, Washington is ready for his third, and likely last, season at Penn State. Washington made 64 catches last season, an exceptional number when playing with a receiver like Jahan Dotson. Now, Washington is ready to fill Dotson's flexible role in the offense.

Receiver: KeAndre Lambert-Smith

Lambert-Smith finished second to Dotson in catches of 30+ yards last season (six). He represents the downfield threat that the Lions need to help their run game refresh.

Receiver: Mitchell Tinsley

A sixth-year senior who transferred from Western Kentucky, Tinsley might be the team's most valuable newcomer. He caught 87 passes in the nation's most prolific passing offense last year. Though Tinsley won't reproduce that number, he should be a perfect portal fit.

Tight end: Brenton Strange

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Head coach James Franklin said he would stack his tight end room against any in the country. He'll need to give them a larger offensive role to make good on that prediction. Still, Strange is a veteran, having started 18 games, including all 13 last season. Tyler Warren and Theo Johnson will contribute, especially in multiple-end formations.

Left tackle: Olu Fashanu

Having started, and played well, in the Outback Bowl, Fashanu is locked to replace Rasheed Walker. The 6-6, 321-pound sophomore might even become an upgrade as he gains experience.

Left guard: Landon Tengwall

Tengwall played in three games as a true freshman but expected to see more time. Still, Tengwall appreciated the year to process becoming a college lineman. He's ready to play now.

Center: Juice Scruggs

This is Scruggs' best position, though he has more experience at guard, having started 10 games there last season. Scruggs finished the year at center, starting the last three games, a stretch that served as a launch pad for the All-Big Ten lineman.

Right guard: Sal Wormley

An injury kept Wormley off the field last year, when he was a projected starter. Franklin said Wormley has looked strong during camp, which he also said last year before the injury, so the coach is guarding his tone. Wormley and Cornell transfer Hunter Nourzad share the competition.

Right tackle: Caedan Wallace

Line coach Phil Trautwein says Wallace is among Penn State's most athletic linemen who needs to trust his technique more. But the returning starter gives Penn State a strong presence on the right side.

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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.