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ESPN's Tom VanHaaren writes that Penn State redshirt junior WR DeAndre Thompkins has "breakout potential."

Thompkins logged a 20-447-1 receiving line while averaging 16.3 yards per reception last season. While VanHaaren sees both Thompkins and Juwan Johnson as possible candidates to explode statistically during the coming season, that pair is going to have plenty of competition for targets, even with Chris Godwin heading off to the NFL. Fellow wideout DaeSean Hamilton and TE Mike Gisicki will be seeing heavy work as Thompkins and Johnson try to emerge into the light.
Source: ESPN.com
Jun 16 - 5:44 PM

ESPN's Craig Haubert wrote that "with positive growth as a player during his senior season, [Penn State four-star verbal DE commit Dorian Hardy] can be looked upon as a potential quick contributor once he arrives on campus."

"Hardy doesn't possess quite the same type of size and projection at the same stage, but he's big, athletic and powerful and is a player in the mold of former Michigan State standout lineman Malik McDowell," Haubert notes. The 6-foot-4, 232-pounder's Sunday commitment has to be something of a breath of fresh air for the Nittany Lions, as they have lost the commitments from a pair of five-star recruits this spring, including the No. 2 quarterback prospect in the 2018 class, Justin Fields. For his part, Hardy ranks as ESPN's No. 152 overall prospect for the cycle.
Jun 13 - 10:45 PM

Penn State sophomore S Koa Farmer considers himself the "utility man" of the Nittany Lions' defense.

The 222-pound athlete is also capable of playing linebacker and contributing on special teams. Penn State may lean more heavily on him now that John Reid is potentially done for the year.
Source: ESPN
Jun 9 - 12:25 PM

DKPittsburghSports.com reported that Penn State junior CB John Reid tore the ACL in his left knee in April.

The injury, sustained in a non-contact drill, could cost Reid the season. A 2016 All-Big Ten honorable mention selection, Reid posted 36 tackles, five TFL, one fumble recovery and one interception last season.
Jun 7 - 2:12 PM

Penn State redshirt freshman DE Shane Simmons has put on about 20 pounds since joining the team.

Simmons ranked as ESPN's No. 12 overall prospect for the 2016 cycle. He was listed at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds when he signed with the Nittany Lions, but has spent extensive time in the weight room to add needed strength. Said HC James Franklin in early April, "Now, he's 250 [pounds], and he's still explosive, he's still lean; he was looked at early on as a pass rush guy, but now he's shown he's going to be able to hold up against the run." Franklin later added that "the defensive staff is pretty excited about what he brings to the table." Torrence Brown and Shareef Miller are looking like probable starters at defensive end for the coming season barring a major push from Simmons in August camp, but he will be part of the team's rotation along the line during the 2017 campaign.
Jun 3 - 2:33 PM

Penn State HC James Franklin said that sophomore RB Miles Sanders weighed in at 224 pounds before the start of spring practice.

Weight numbers will fluctuate, of course, but even with that in mind, Sanders has been seriously bulking up over the past few months -- he was listed at 205 pounds last season. "Now, he doesn't have Saquon [Barkley's] legs, few people do," Franklin said. "But he is put together right now." Sanders rushed for 184 yards (7.1 YPC) and a touchdown as a true freshman playing behind Barkley last season. His biggest impact came in his return prowess, as he racked up 688 yards on kick returns while averaging 20.8 yards per return in 2016.
Jun 1 - 7:21 PM

Rivals recruiting analyst Rob Cassidy tagged Penn State four-star 2018 verbal RB commit Ricky Slade as a standout performer from the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in New Jersey.

"Slade is a powerful back that showed an ability to change directions on a dime. He spent his day in New Jersey getting separation from defenders and made at least one highlight catch over the back of a defender," Cassidy writes. The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder committed to the Nittany Lions in early February. ESPN's Gerry Hamilton notes that Slade possess an "an explosive burst and the ability to score from anywhere."
Source: Rivals
May 30 - 4:08 PM

Penn State redshirt sophomore WR Juwan Johnson won the team's Jim O'Hora Award (most improved offensive player) this spring.

"He just has taken a very mature approach, very aggressive approach, all off-season...I think we all know he has some special physical abilities, and it's all coming together for him right now," said HC James Franklin. The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder's spring has also drawn high praise from ESPN's Dan Murphy, who noted that it "might have been as promising of a step forward as any player at any position in the Big Ten." This past season, Johnson caught two passes for 70 yards -- numbers that could be in for a huge improvement during the coming campaign. The real question is just how many targets he might receive -- Penn State houses a loaded receiver corp even with Chris Godwin out the door, led by wideouts DaeSean Hamilton and Saeed Blacknall and TE Mike Gesicki.
May 30 - 1:24 PM

An NFC scout called Penn State junior RB Saquon Barkley "special."

"He's special," said an NFC scout. "He is as complete as they come at the position." NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks likens Barkley to a "young Frank Gore." Brooks says the 5-foot-11, 223-pound Barkley's "uncanny ability to shift from power to finesse is uncommon, which is why running back coaches will salivate over his game at the next level." To the scout's point about Barkley's well-rounded game, Brooks also praises the prospect's skills as a receiver out of the backfield and his blocking ability. "Although he hasn't put the finishing touches on his collegiate resume, Barkley certainly has the talent and potential to be a dominant player at the next level," Brooks wrote.
Source: NFL.com
May 25 - 3:23 PM

Penn State redshirt senior WR DaeSean Hamilton will replace Tampa Bay Buccaneers third-round pick Chris Godwin as the Nittany Lions' No. 1 receiver.

Hamilton caught 34 passes for 506 yards over 13 starts for the Nittany Lions last year in a secondary role. With Godwin gone, Hamilton will become the go-to target for QB Trace McSorley. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound Hamilton led the Big Ten with 82 catches as a freshman but had only 79 receptions over the past two years combined.
Source: NFL.com
May 24 - 4:08 PM

A Penn State coach singled out freshman CB Lamont Wade as a spring practice standout.

The 5-foot-9, 192-pound corner was the crown jewel of Penn State's 2017 class, a five-star recruit and consensus top-10 overall prospect. "At 5 feet 10, he isn’t the biggest defensive back, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed and instinct," ESPN's Dan Murphy and Tom VanHaaren noted.
Source: ESPN
May 20 - 11:42 AM

247Sports' Barton Simmons notes that due to the knee injury suffered by Penn State junior CB John Reid, freshman CB Lamont Wade could have to take on a larger early role.

Simmons isn't too worried about Wade's ability to step in, even as a true freshman, writing that the 5-foot-9, 192-pounder has "got the DNA to compete at a really high level and no stage will be too big." The analyst likes what he saw out of Wade -- 247Sports' No. 46 overall prospect for the 2017 cycle -- this spring, particularly in terms of his consistency.
Source: 247Sports
May 19 - 5:33 PM

A "high-level executive" told Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller that Penn State junior RB Saquon Barkley has the "potential to be the best running back of the last decade."

That would mean better than Todd Gurley, Leonard Fournette and Ezekiel Elliott, among many others. In March, Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman reported from the NFL Draft Combine back that several NFL sources expected Barkley to be a top-5 overall pick. The 5-foot-11, 222-pound Barkley racked up 1,496 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns on 5.5 yards per carry last season. He's a Heisman Trophy frontrunner.
Source: Ble
May 18 - 3:29 PM

Penn State AD Sandy Barbour hinted that a contract extension might be in the works for HC James Franklin.

While speaking at a school event on Monday, Barbour was asked by Pennlive.com about the possibility of an extension for Franklin. Her response? "Stay tuned." Franklin's current contract is set to expire following the 2019 season. He is fresh off leading the Nittany Lions to an 11-3 record. Given that Barbour was having to offer votes of confidence for Franklin's job security just last September, it has been nothing short of a remarkable turnaround in Happy Valley.
May 9 - 6:02 PM

Penn State redshirt junior K Joey Julius is undergoing treatment for an eating disorder.

Julius did not participate in the Nittany Lions’ spring game on April 22 and has checked himself into a Missouri clinic for treatment. In a Facebook post, the 5-foot-10, 258-pounder said, "Recovery is a wonderful and beautiful thing that I am working on returning to … There is light at the end of the tunnel. It is just a very long tunnel." Julius worked on kickoffs this past season. His availability for August camp is not yet known.
May 6 - 1:24 PM


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