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Penn State Football

Transfer Portal: Penn State Offers All-American Kick Returner

CHAMPAIGN, IL - NOVEMBER 11: Indiana RB/RS Jaylin Lucas (12) during a college football game between the Indiana Hoosiers and Illinois Fighting Illini on November 11, 2023 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, IN. (Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire)

In transfer portal news, it’s not quite clear what Penn State football’s kick/punt return situation will look like next season.

In the kick return game, Penn State will have Nicholas Singleton back, but Singleton’s known primarily for what he does as a running back.

At punt returner, Daequan Hardy— who ran two punts back for touchdowns and had another TD called back due to a penalty— has the option to return for a sixth year of eligibility, but could also move on to the NFL, where he’d likely be a draft pick.

Aside from Hardy, Kaden Saunders is set to return for year three. But considering Saunders was unseated from his role as the No. 1 punt returner by Hardy, it’s fair to say he’s lacking in polish in that role. Well, Penn State just offered a guy from the transfer portal who isn’t lacking polish and a guy that coach James Franklin and company are familiar with. PSU became the first school to offer Indiana’s Jaylin Lucas out of the transfer portal.

Lucas has spent time at running back, going for 275 yards, two touchdowns and 4.1 yards per carry this past season (he also caught 34 passes for 247 yards and two scores.)

But Lucas, who describes himself as the “WORLDS MOST DANGEROUS MAN,” in his social media bio, didn’t become a 2022 All-American by running and catching the ball.

He became one by returning it.

Over his two seasons at IU, Lucas returned 44 kicks for 1,163 yards and three scores, with two of them coming this past season.

 

Lucas didn’t return any kicks for scores during IU’s two meetings with Penn State, but he did have coach James Franklin’s attention.

“Jaylin Lucas is a guy we’re very aware of,” Franklin said in his weekly presser leading up to this year’s Indiana game in October, “as a running back, receiver, and return specialist for them, No. 12.”

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