It was an offseason of change for Penn State. For the first time in the Transfer Portal's brief history, the Nittany Lions were extremely active, adding six new players. Let's set some expectations for those new arrivals who now call Happy Valley home.
Arnold Ebiketie, Defensive End (Temple)
Of all the transfers, Ebiketie is filling the biggest position of need. He dominated at Temple last season but didn't do much for the Owls any year prior. Ebiketie has been on campus since January, and likely will enter camp as one of the starters at defensive end. It's hard to expect Shaka Toney-esque production from the edge rusher, but he'll be a great asset for a unit that desperately needs someone to step up.
Expectation: Starter and ranks second on the team in sacks
John Lovett, Running back (Baylor)
Lovett didn't come to Penn State to to be a role player player in this offense. Penn State has a deep running back room, but Lovett is by far the most-known commodity. This won't be the type of backfield where there's a clear alpha, at least not entering the season, but Lovett has a running style unlike any of the other backs on the roster.
Projection: Won't start every game, but leads Penn State in rushing in 2021
Eric Wilson, Guard (Harvard)
Of all the transfers, the Nittany Lions need the most out of Eric Wilson. A Harvard graduate and one of the Ivy League's top players, he should pick up the playbook pretty quickly and hopefully lockdown a starting job during fall camp. Penn State's offensive line will be good, but strong play out of Wilson can make it one of the best units in the conference.
Derrick Tangelo, Defensive tackle (Duke)
Getting Tangelo was a huge win for the coaching staff. He's an experienced guy, a good tackler, and always played up against the best competition. Pairing him with PJ Mustipher gives the Nittany Lions two agile big men to eat space, which will hopefully allow the defensive ends and linebackers to get home more frequently. What he does won't necessarily show up in the box score, but he's going to be one of the most important members of this defense.
Expectation: All-Conference honors
John Dixon, Cornerback (South Carolina)
Penn State's cornerback room is crowded. John Dixon is going to battle with Kalen King for that third corner job, and thanks to his two years of experience in the SEC, he'll win that battle (at least to start the season). Teams are going to be wary throwing it towards Joey Porter Jr. and Tariq Castro-Fields, assuming he's able to regain his form, so there will be chances for takeaways for Dixon.
Expectation: No. 3 corner and finishes fourth in interceptions
AJ Lytton, Cornerback (Florida State)
Lytton arrived on campus not too long ago and hasn't played big-time football since 2019. It's going to take some time get back in the groove, which is fine considering all of the talent Penn State has at the position. He can get back up to speed at his own pace and be a key contributor on special teams, and work his way into a rotation in the secondary.
Expectation: Special teamer, depth corner