This is a fun question to consider with the Penn State season rapidly approaching: Which Nittany Lion players are you most excited to watch this season?
We’ll break it down into two categories — offense and defense.
We’ll give our picks here, followed by responses from fans on social media with their picks.
Mike Yurcich’s offense is tailor made for a No. 1 wide receiver to put up huge numbers. So the pick here is Jahan Dotson, who could be in line for a monster season.
We all know QB Mason Rudolph (4,904 yards passing as a senior) was able to put up massive numbers in Yurich’s system at Oklahoma State. And we’ll see if Sean Clifford can get the job done to a high level.
But let’s take a look at what receiver James Washington, who’s now with the Steelers, was able to do at Oklahoma State:
Look at those last three seasons, and then allow yourself to wonder if Dotson just might be able to come close to some of those numbers this year for Penn State.
Dotson caught 52 passes for 884 yards and eight TDs last year. Everyone believes his production will increase significantly this season, but by how much?
Yurcich likes to let the QB take a lot of shots down the field, so Dotson — and Parker Washington — will have lots of opportunities at explosive plays. But another part of Yurcich’s system is having the QB get rid of the ball quickly on short strikes and letting the playmakers make plays. Dotson will have a good opportunity to do that, as well.
Here are some predictions for Dotson’s stats this year: 70 catches, 1,285 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. And hey, he could blow by all of those predictions if Clifford has a big year.
There are a lot of options on this side of the ball, because the Lions have recruited so well defensively.
It’s a difficult choice, but we’ll go with cornerback Joey Porter Jr. on this one.
As we wrote here a few months ago, Porter very well could be the best NFL prospect on the roster. Here’s the synopsis:
He has everything you need to be a future star defensive back in the NFL. The redshirt freshman is 6-foot-2 and 193 pounds, he’s fast, strong and a good tackler.
He looked really good in coverage at times while starting seven games this past season, and at other times he showed his inexperience and got beaten. That’s to be expected from a first-year starter in college football.
Still, Porter has tremendous potential and will be in college at least two more seasons, so he’ll have a chance to get much, much better than he is right now. He played in eight games in 2020 and had 33 tackles (24 solo), four pass breakups, two tackles for loss and one sack. He didn’t have any interceptions, but those will come.
So, there you have it. The choices here are Jahan Dotson on offense and Joey Porter Jr. on defense as the players I’m most excited to watch this season.
Here are some of the fans’ choices:
Theo Johnson and Brandon Smith
— Shawn Huss (@Infused1) August 17, 2021
Cain & Brisker
— Jim Gibson (@JimGibson09) August 17, 2021
My 12 year old boy said:
Liam Clifford and Jesse Lukata.
— Jon McConkey (@PastorMcConkey) August 17, 2021
Noah Cain & Brandon smith. Both due for breakout seasons
— Poppa Zeebs (@Zeebus316) August 17, 2021
Parker Washington and Curtis Jacobs
— Big Al (@mickeyd55) August 17, 2021
Brandon Smith needs to be good…Dotson should shine!!
— @ChrisStrawmier (@chrisstrawmier) August 17, 2021
Tariq Castro-Fields/John Lovett
— Zachary Pletchan (@zdp5000) August 17, 2021
Dotson and Brisker
— Garrett Beaver (@thegbeav1) August 17, 2021
Joey Porter Jr and Jahan Dotson
— Kerry (@kelba87) August 17, 2021
Parker Washington and Brandon Smith
— This Daniel has been lost in the Feywild (@dakk2142) August 17, 2021
Parker Washington. Brandon Smith. Easy
— Danny Templeton (@DannyTempleto10) August 17, 2021
Dotson and King
— Aaron Lichtig (@aaronlichtig) August 17, 2021
— 🦁 Lion Lasch Out 🦁 (@mrboyer_007) August 17, 2021
Noah Cain post 2020 injury.
Jesse Luketa for his duel role of DE/LB.
— scott shutika (@shutz1) August 18, 2021