2018 Penn State Preseason Superlatives: Offense, Part 2

By Joe McIntyre on July 31, 2018 at 9:35 am
Juwan Johnson
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, we took a look at some of the superlatives for the Penn State offense heading into the 2018 season. Now, with just a month until the season officially kicks off against Appalachian State on, here's Part II of the RLR staff's discussion of the 2018 Nittany Lion offense.

Most Likely to Become Fan Favorite

Tommy Stevens
This may be cheating since he was the fan favorite of many last year, but the ultimate fan favorite in 2017 will always be Saquon Barkley, so I think I'm in the clear. Not only is the backup QB always the most popular player in town, but Touchdown Tommy will embarrass so many opposing players this year with his disgusting rumbles, truck sticks and trick plays that he will legally own the "The" in The Ohio State University by Oct. 1. —Joe McIntyre

Mark Allen/Journey Brown/Ricky Slade
It's one of the three backup running backs, as all of them have the potential to be big play threats while they spell Miles Sanders. Slade has the highest ceiling, Allen has the most experience, and Brown might be the fastest of the bunch. — Bill DiFilippo

K.J. Hamler
In the vein of departed Marcus Allen, Hamler's smile is infectious and he appears the heir apparent to the post-game locker room celebration video choreography. — Craig Fritz

Watch any video with him in it and you’ll see why. — Matt Filipovits

He's fun, exciting, and oh yeah, he can play a bit of football, too. — Matt de Bear

Trace McSorley
He is already a fan favorite, and will solidify his spot this fall as one of the best quarterbacks to ever wear a Penn State uniform. — Kevin Fay

Most Receptions

Juwan Johnson
Hard to pick anyone else here since J.J. is literally impossible to stop if you're a defensive back, so I imagine 68 receptions is a fair estimate here. — Joe McIntyre

Dude has a chance to be an All-American. — Craig Fritz

He’ll have to step up and be an elite red zone target as well as a number one receiver. He’ll have tons of opportunities. — Matt Filipovits

With new roles for practically everyone else across the offensive skill positions, Johnson's consistency will be important. — Matt de Bear

DeAndre Thompkins

Thompkins' versatility means he can fill in whatever gaps might pop up among the receivers — he can play on the outside, in the slot, be a deep threat, go over the middle, etc. Juwan Johnson has more yards and touchdowns, but when it comes to being the team's safety valve, that's all Thompkins. — Bill DiFilippo

If you look at trends of experience and skill, DeAndre fits the mold to pick up the slack left by Hamilton, Gesicki, and Barkley. — Kevin Fay

Position Group Most Talked About as a Strength Going into the Season

Offensive Line
This is finally the year. It's been quite some time but I think the Nits are finally going to have average to strong offensive line play this year. (Please, god.) — Joe McIntyre

If this unit is still a liability with the experience and depth Franklin has built, there's something else going on. — Craig Fritz

Four returning starters? No freshmen? No converted defensive linemen? This is what dreams are made of in Happy Valley. — Matt Filipovits

Wide Receivers

Quarterback is *probably* the position I'm least worried about, but that's because of two players. Between the talent and depth at the position, though, it's hard to be too terribly worried about wide receivers, even after DaeSean Hamilton and Saeed Blacknall's careers came to an end. — Bill DiFilippo

Maybe I am contradicting myself, but despite all of the questions about new players and new roles, there is not a group on offense as talented as what Penn State can throw out at receiver. — Matt de Bear

Insert Alabama QB room tweet here. — Kevin Fay

Most Questionable Position Group

Tight End
The good news: It isn't the offensive line! The bad news: I'm really worried about tight end! — Joe McIntyre

I have zero idea who will start there, how they'll do, or if it would be smart to have a tight end on the field in most situations instead of another wide receiver. It'll be fine down the road, but entering the 2018 season, it's a major question mark. — Bill DiFilippo

If Jonathan Holland doesn’t seize the opportunity, there’s not much experience behind him. — Matt Filipovits

Place Kicker
This is complete unknown. — Craig Fritz

Offensive Line
Until they show they have put it together, I'll keep asking questions about the line. I think they are set up to take a big step forward, but I think every Penn State fan wants to see it before getting too excited. — Matt de Bear

Until proven otherwise, it has to be the offensive line. They are expected to be a strength this year, but until they prove it, they are the question mark heading in to the season. — Kevin Fay

Quote James Franklin Would Use to Describe the 2018 Offense Before the Season Starts

"OK I'm serious now I think our offensive line has a chance to be a real strength of this team last year I wasn't serious but now I am, for real." — Joe McIntyre

"If you have a quarterback, you've got a chance." — James Franklin during his introductory press conference in 2015 and also right now if you ask him. — Bill DiFilippo

"Trace, Trace, Trace, Trace, Trace." — Craig Fritz

“These guys are the definition of Penn State football players,” but said with a fiery passion. — Matt Filipovits

"Potential, potential, potential" I don't know if that's a quote, but there is so much talent across the offense that it's not hard to see another big year. The lingering questions won't be answered until that talent takes the field. — Matt de Bear

"Wise men say forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza." — Kevin Fay

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