In case you missed it, the Big Ten has reversed course, and football season will indeed kick off next month.
A lot has changed in the past seven weeks or so, with the two biggest developments for Penn State being Micah Parsons' opt-out and the NCAA's decision that this football season will not count towards a player's eligibility. That means true freshmen can appear in every game this season and still have true freshman eligibility in 2021. With that luxury in mind, let's project what the first depth chart of this very bizarre 2020 season could look it.
|Pos.||First Team||Second Team||Third Team|
|QB||Sean Clifford||Will Levis||
3rd: Ta'Quon Roberson
4th: Micah Bowens
|RB||Journey Brown||Noah Cain||
3rd: Devyn Ford
4th: Caziah Homes
5th: Keyvone Lee
|WR-X||Daniel George||Cam Sullivan-Brown||
3rd: Norval Black
4th: Malick Meiga
|WR-H||KeAndre Lambert-Smith||John Dunmore||Parker Washington|
|WR-Z||Jahan Dotson||TJ Jones||Jaden Dottin|
|TE/H||Pat Freiermuth||Zack Kuntz||
3rd: Brenton Strange
4th: Theo Johnson
|LT||Rasheed Walker||Des Holmes||Jimmy Christ|
|LG||Mike Miranda||Sal Wormley||Nick Dawkins|
|C||Michal Menet||Juice Scruggs||Golden Isreal-Achumba|
|RG||CJ Thorpe||Anthony Whigan||Olu Fashanu|
|RT||Will Fries||Caedan Wallace||
3rd: Bryce Effner
4th: Ibrahim Traore
- The official depth chart will probably list Brown, Cain, and Ford as co-starters, but we all know how that will really shake out. Brown and Cain will form the best 1-2 punch in the Big Ten, with Ford being a homerun threat every time he checks in. Caziah Holmes should get a few carries a game here and there.
- Pat Freiermuth is indeed back, turning tight end from somewhat of a question mark into a major strength. Expect Theo Johnson to see a lot of time as more of a receiver until that position room figures itself out.
- Speaking of receivers, I'm projecting KeAndre Lambert-Smith to be a starter. The blue-chip prospect enrolled early and even though the staff probably wasn't going to redshirt him, they can now get him on the field as often as possible. I'd also expect both John Dunmore and Parker Washington to get a lot of reps, possibly equal to Lambert-Smith.
- This offensive line is going to be outstanding. Fries and Wallace could turn into a platoon as the season wears on, but Fries should have it locked down for a while. Don't expect the true freshman to play all that much, but it's nice to have those options.
|Pos.||First Team||Second Team||Reserves|
|DE||Shaka Toney||Adisa Isaac||
3rd: Nick Tarburton
4th: Coziah Izzard
|1-DT||Antonio Shelton||Fred Hansard||
3rd: Hakeem Beamon
4th: Joseph Darkwa
5th: Fatorma Mulbah
|3-DT||PJ Mustipher||Judge Culpepper||
3rd: Dvon Ellies
4th: Aeneas Hawkins
5th: Cole Brevard
|DE||Jayson Oweh||Shane Simmons||
3rd: Smith Vilbert
4th: Bryce Mostella
5th: Amin Vanover
|SLB||Brandon Smith||Lance Dixon||Zuriah Fisher|
|MLB||Ellis Brooks||Curtis Jacobs||Tyler Eldson|
|WLB||Jesse Luketa||Charlie Katshir||Curtis Jacobs|
|CB||Keaton Ellis||Marquis Wilson||Joseph Johnson III|
|S||Lamont Wade||Tyler Rudolph||
3rd: Trent Gordon
4th: Drew Hartlaub
|S||Jaquan Brisker||Jonathan Sutherland||Enzo Jennings|
|CB||Tariq Castro-Fields||Joey Porter Jr.||Daequan Hardy|
- No real surprises along the defensive line, but the battles for the fifth defensive tackle and end should be fun to watch. There's a lot to like about those redshirt and true freshman.
- With Micah gone, I expect Jesse Luketa to slide to outside linebacker. Remember, Brent Pry has his most of his guys learn all three positions, so this is more of a formality than anything else. Curtis Jacobs and Lance Dixon could play inside if needed, while Katshir is purely an outside linebacker. Zuriah Fisher could see his snaps increase as the season goes on and he gets more comfortable after playing near the line of scrimmage in high school.
- Donovan Johnson is out for the year with an injury, so enter Keaton Ellis. The State College native played well last year and should take a big step forward. Marquis Wilson will probably occupy the slot, while Joey Porter Jr. rotates in on the outside.
- Brisker and Wade give the Nittany Lions two great options in pass coverage. Trent Gordon moves over from corner, bringing some good ball skills. Jonathan Sutherland should be his usual, reliable self.
|Pos.||First Team||Second Team||Reserves|
|K (FG) - <49||Jake Pinegar||Jordan Stout||Rafael Checa|
|K (FG) - 50+||Jordan Stout||Jake Pinegar|
|KOS||Jordan Stout||Jake Pinegar||Rafael Checa|
|P||Jordan Stout||Carson Landis||Bradley King|
|H||Jordan Stout||Joe Calcagno||Bradley King|
|LS||Chris Stoll||Joe Calcagno||-|
|KR||Caziah Holmes||Journey Brown||-|
|PR||Jahan Dotson||Marquis Wilson||-|
- *Sigh* No Micah at kick returner. Caziah Holmes was listed as the third guy in the spring depth chart, but I expect him to be the guy. It's a great way for him to get his hands on the football while protecting some of your more established playmakers.