Penn State Releases Spring Depth Chart AND MICAH PARSONS IS THE KICK RETURNER, I REPEAT, MICAH IS THE KICK RETURNER

By Nick Polak on April 18, 2020 at 12:17 pm
Oct 5, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) reacts after a sack against the Purdue Boilermakers during the second half at Beaver Stadium.
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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Spring football has been canceled, but that didn't stop Penn State from releasing its spring depth chart. It's hard to take too much away from a depth chart that is based on only a few days of practice, but it does possibly shed some light on what the staff is thinking in some key position battles.

Offense

Pos. First Team Second Team Third Team
QB Sean Clifford Will Levis 3rd: Ta'Quon Roberson
4th: Michael Johnson Jr.
RB Journey Brown Noah Cain 3rd: Devyn Ford
4th: Caziah Homes
5th: Tank Smith
WR-X Daniel George Cam Sullivan-Brown 3rd: KeAndre Lambert-Smith
4th: Benjamin Wilson
WR-H TJ Jones John Dunmore 3rd: Jaden Dottin
4th: Alec Berger
5th: Cameron Pica
WR-Z Jahan Dotson Isaac Lutz 3rd: Justin Weller
4th: Henry Fessler
TE/H Pat Freiermuth Zack Kuntz 3rd: Brenton Strange
4th: Theo Johnson
5th: Trevor Baker
6th: Grayson Kline
7th: Tommy Friberg
LT Rasheed Walker Des Holmes Colin De Boef
LG Mike Miranda Sal Wormley 3rd: Nick Dawkins
4th: Dalton Daddona
C Michal Menet Juice Scruggs 3rd: Blake Zalar
4th: Will Knutsson
RG CJ Thorpe Anthony Whigan 3rd: Justin Kopko
4th: Kaleb Konigus
RT Will Fries Caedan Wallace Bryce Effner

Notes: 

  • Hello, TJ Jones! For all the talk of which freshman would be the first to contribute this fall, the redshirt freshmen (Jones and John Dunmore) were a bit overlooked. But it appears that Jones may have the inside track on a starting spot, after all.
  • Speaking of the freshmen receivers, it is a bit surprising to see Lambert (now Lambert-Smith) on the X-receiver depth chart, where playing time may be harder to come by this fall. Again, this entire depth chart could be moot by the fall, but still. By the depth chart, Dottin may be in the best position.
  • Not huge news, but confirmation that Miranda is the one sliding over to Steven Gonzalez's left guard spot with CJ Thorpe staying put on the right.
  • Nice to see Scruggs get into a legitimate position on the depth chart, perhaps signaling that he's recovered from his car accident-related injuries. Having him set up full-time in that backup center role would be huge for the depth on the interior.
  • Caedan Wallace appears to be the heir-apparent at right tackle. Again, not a huge surprise, but confirmation nonetheless.

defense

Pos. First Team Second Team Reserves
DE Shaka Toney   Adisa Isaac 3rd: Nick Tarburton
4th: Dan Vasey
1-DT Antonio Shelton Fred Hansard 3rd: Damion Barber
4th: Joseph Darkwa
5th: Fatorma Mulbah
6th: Cole Brevard
3-DT PJ Mustipher Judge Culpepper 3rd: Hakeem Beamon
4th: Dvon Ellies
5th: Aeneas Hawkins
6th: Evan Presta
DE Jayson Oweh Shane Simmons 3rd: Smith Vilbert
4th: Bryce Mostella
5th: Alex Furmanek
SLB Brandon Smith Lance Dixon Denver Light
MLB Ellis Brooks Jesse Luketa 3rd: Max Chizmar
4th: Tyler Eldson
WLB Micah Parsons Charlie Katshir Robbie Dwyer
CB Donovan Johnson Marquis Wilson 3rd: Joey Porter Jr
4th: Joseph Johnson III
5th: Corey Melzer
S Lamont Wade Tyler Rudolph 3rd: Trent Gordon
4th: Drew Hartlaub
5th: Jaden Seider
S Jaquan Brisker Jonathan Sutherland 3rd: Enzo Jennings
4th: CJ Holmes
5th: Dylan Farronato
CB Tariq Castro-Fields Keaton Ellis 3rd: Daequan Hardy
4th: Makai Self
5th: Sebastian Costantini

Notes:

  • The main stand out here on the defensive line is Judge Culpepper moving to second on the depth chart behind PJ Mustipher. There were very positive vibes around him last season, and it appears that he's ready to make a legitimate impact next season.
  • Luketa has apparently officially moved to middle linebacker. It is likely still Ellis Brooks' job to lose, but Luketa isn't short on in-game experience, so this could be a battle to watch in the preseason. It also opens things up for Charlie Katshir and Lance Dixon to find more playing time this fall.
  • That SAM linebacker depth chart. I don't know anything about Denver Light, but those are two five-stars back-to-back. Wow.
  • Donovan Johnson could be in for a huge year if he can finally stay healthy, as evidenced by his starting position at cornerback opposite Tariq Castro-Fields. He likely will still be the one to shift inside when an inside corner is required, but this perhaps signals that he will be a starter in two-cornerback sets, as well.

special teams

Pos. First Team Second Team Reserves
K (FG) Jordan Stout Jake Pinegar -
KOS Jordan Stout Jake Pinegar 3rd: Rafael Checa
4th: Anthony DaSilva
5th: Vlad Hilling
P Jordan Stout Carson Landis Bradley King
H Jordan Stout Joe Calcagno Bradley King
LS Chris Stoll Joe Calcagno -
KR Micah Parsons Journey Brown 3rd: Caziah Holmes
4th: Devyn Ford
PR Jahan Dotson Marquis Wilson -

Notes:

  • IT'S JORDAN STOUT TIME, BABY. Touchback Jesus is set to be the kickoff specialist, field goal kicker (though maybe still just the 50-yard-plus guy?), punter, and holder next season. We can NEVER have enough Touchback Jesus.
  • Dotson at punt returner is expected, he handled the duties when KJ Hamler was gassed last fall. He showed some great promise there, and Marquis Wilson has the athleticism to provide fireworks from that spot, as well.
  • Finally, the most important note on this depth chart – MICAH PARSONS AT FIRST-STRING KICK RETURNER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't care if this is just a "hey, it's a depth chart that means nothing, so who cares if we put him there" but I NEED Parsons returning kicks next season. I need it like I need food, water, and shelter to survive. Make it happen, James.
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