Penn State Football: depth chart predictions

Penn State took a big blow with the NCAA sanctions – only allowing 15 scholarships a year for the next 4 years.  Coach O’Brien has taken the offensive, naturally, in promoting a strong ‘run-on’ program to attract non-scholarship athletes.  With the scholarship restrictions, will the team suffer? Will the team be better or worse next season?  Let’s take a closer look at some of the key players who will be gone after this season and highlight some of the gaps that will need to be filled come next season.

Projected 2013-2014 Depth Chart

Offense:
QB: Steven Bench, Christen Hackenburg (R), TBD
RB: Bill Belton, Zach Zwinak, Akeel Lynch,
OT: Donovan Smith, Nate Cadogan
OG: Miles Dieffenbach, Angelo Mangiro , Anthony Alosi
C:  Frank Figueroa, Wendy Laurent
OG: John Urschel, Eric Shrive, Brendan Mahon (R)
OT: Adam Gress, Kevin Blanchard, Andrew Nelson (R)
TE- F: Kyle Carter, Brent Wilkerson
TE-Y:  Matt Lehman, Garry Gilliam, Jesse James, Adam Breneman (R)
WR: Allen Robinson, Alex Kenney, B. Moseby-Felder, Trevor Williams, Eugene Lewis, Matt Zanellato, Malik Golden, Christian Kuntz

K: Sam Ficken
P: Alex Butterworth

Key Players Lost: QB Matt McGloin, C  Matt Stankiewitch, OT Mike Farrell, RB Mike Zordich, RB Jason Day

  • McGloin and Stankiewitch are the two big loses on offense.  McGloin has clearly been instrumental in leading this team through the past months and will be a hard role to fill.  QB position lacks depth and will be interesting to see how the young players perform.  Bench starts over hyped Hackenburg, who ideally like to redshirt his first year, but without depth, he may have not have that opportunity.  Don’t rule out others though – Penn State has offered experienced JUCO player Jake Waters.  Would be a needed pick up.
  • Offensive line remains solid.
  • RB position will be in good shape.  Despite loss of Zordich, Day, and perhaps Curtis Dukes (likely transfers after this season) the RB position brings back some talent with more experience running O’Brien’s offense.  Penn State has a few RB offers out too, so I expect another addition come 2013.
  • Lots of depth at TE position.  Perfect for the O’Brien offense.
  • No big loss at WR position
  • Kicking game should hopefully improve, because it sure can’t get any worse.  Both Ficken and Butterworth are back with more experience.

Defense:
DE: Deion Barnes, Anthony Zettel
DT: Kyle Baublitz, Brian Gaia
DT: DaQuan Jones, Austin Johnson
DE: CJ Olaniyan, Brad Bars
OLB:  Mike Hull, Brandon Bell (R)
MLB: Glenn Carson, Nayeem Wartman
OLB:  Ben Kline, Gary Wooten
CB:  Adrian Amos, Jess Della Valle
CB: DaQuan Davis, Jordan Lucas
S:  Malcolm Willis, Ryan Keiser
S: Obeng-Agyapong, Neiko Robinson (R)

Key Players Lost : DE Sean Stanley, DE Pete Massaro, DT Jordan Hill, LB  Michael Mauti, LB  Gerald Hodges, CB Stephon Morris, S  Jacob Fagnano

  • Defensive line has some holes to fill.  Will need some young players to step it up.
  • LB core takes a huge hit with the loss of Mauti and Hodges – arguably two of the best in the country.  Plus, Mauti has been a huge part of the team’s unity and morale.  The loss of Khari Fortt over the Summer hurts a little more now; thankfully, Mike Hull decided to stay and will taken the reigns along with Glenn Carson and Ben Kline.  Depth may be a concern though.
  • Secondary stays fair intact.  Only big loss is Stephon Morris.   Will have to continue improving depth, but expect them to better next year with another year under their belt.

Conclusion.

  • Defense will take a hit after this season, losing some key players on the line as well as at the linebacker position.  I expect secondary to improve though as young players gain more experience.  Will rely on more freshman/sophomores to fill the gaps.
  • Offense returns a lot of starters with a year of experience running the O’Brien offense.  The big question mark will be the QB position.  Bench will be the likely starter, but as well we all know, already, a lot can happen and change in a years time.
  • The ‘Supa Six’ (picture) will be the core in moving this team forward through the sanction era.  These six talented 2011 recruits include Bill Belton, Kyle Carter, Allen Robinson, Adrian Amos, Donovan Smith, Bill Belton, and Deion Barnes.  Following the sanctions, they got together and decided to stay at Penn State.  Over the next couple years, expect these players to become leaders in their respective positions.
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