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Penn State Football All 105

Penn State All 105: Zion Tracy Looking to Build on Peach Bowl Experience in Year 2

Photo by Matt Lynch, Nittany Sports Now: Zion Tracy

Penn State defensive back Zion Tracy was thrown into a difficult situation.

For the entire 2023 regular season, Penn State’s starting corners were veterans Kalen King and Johnny Dixon.

Both of them opted out of the Peach Bowl against Ole Miss, leaving two of Penn State’s younger players, the true freshman Tracy and second-year player Cam Miller to start on the outside.

With QB Jaxson Dart leading the charge, Ole Miss’ high-powered offense exploited Miller,  Tracy and Penn State’s secondary for 379 yards and three touchdowns passing with no interceptions.

Per Pro Football Focus, Tracy allowed three receptions on four targets for 59 yards.

Despite the Peach Bowl not going how any Penn Stater would have wanted, there’s still big hopes for Tracy in Year II. He’s the subject in the latest edition of All 105, a Nittany Sports Now series profiling each Penn State football player.

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 183 pounds

Hometown: Hempstead, New York

Before Penn State: Tracy came to Penn State after three seasons at Long Island Lutheran High School and a final one at St. Thomas More in Connecticut. In high school, Tracy was a standout on both sides of the ball. He caught 12 touchdown passes his senior season and picked up 500 receiving yards. But Tracy came to Penn State as a defensive back, committing in September and signing in December. Tracy was a three-star according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

2023: Tracy burned his redshirt, appearing in all 13 games, primarily on special teams. He ended the season with 13 tackles (11 solo), and was named the special teams player of the week after stopping a fake punt against Northwestern Sept. 30, which was the signature play of his freshman season.

Where he stands: Although Penn State has lost King, Dixon and nickelback Daequan Hardy, Tracy still has a lot of work to do to get into the starting lineup. A.J. Harris, who transferred in from Georgia over the winter, has a great chance to start, and the second outside spot will likely be a battle between Miller and Jalen Kimber, who transferred in from Florida. Tracy’s best chance of playing time appears to be at the nickel position, where Penn State still needs to replace Hardy. Penn State’s nickel position will be called “the Lion” and is described by first-year coordinator Tom Allen as a corner/safety hybrid.

A quote by Tracy: “He’s so straightforward and honest. Down-to-earth, no matter what. He’s going to be honest with you, and I respect that as a man.” Tracy to NSN on Penn State CB coach Terry Smith after his commitment.”

A quote about Tracy: A quote about Tracy: “This is going to be an awesome journey for you. This is going to be an awesome journey for you.” — James Franklin to Tracy on his Signing Day

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