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Penn State junior WR Saeed Blacknall "has ideal size for a prospect and tantalizing upside," writes Bleacher Report's David Kenyan.

This offseason, Penn State HC Franklin fired offensive coordinator John Donovan and hired Joe Moorhead, who brought with him an up-tempo spread offense. Now that the Nitts have joined modern offensive football, Blacknall is one of several poised to break out if everything goes according to plan. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound burner was a four-star recruit and is a big-play threat. He's posted only 18 catches for 343 yards and two touchdowns the past two seasons, otherwise known as the Dark Ages in Penn State circles, but is an ace breakout candidate this fall.
Jun 17 - 8:27 PM

Penn State sophomore RB Saquon Barkley ranked No. 1 in Pro Football Focus' elusive rating last season.

Elusive rating is one of the neater proprietary stats PFF produces, as it attempts to isolate a runner's effectiveness independent of his blocking. You knew that Barkley's blocking was crap in 2015, and you knew Barkley was tremendous; this stat should give you some context for how Barkley may have performed behind LSU or Stanford's offensive lines. PFF also charted Barkley as finishing with the ninth-most missed tackles as a runner and the sixth-best yards after contact per rush average.
Jun 10 - 1:13 PM

Penn State redshirt freshman DT Kevin Givens had six tackles, 3.5 TFL and two sacks in the spring game, displaying "strength, quickness and low pad level," per 247 Sports' Jeff Rice.

"I think Kevin’s been a little bit of a surprise for all of us," defensive coordinator Brent Pry said. "We were certainly excited about him. He was a very raw player coming out of high school." Indeed, the 6-foot-1, 267-pound Givens played linebacker and running back in the prep ranks. Givens was moved to defensive end as a freshman, then converted to DT this offseason. He may have found a home and is adding weight to try to stay there long term. "He gets it," Pry said. "He reminds me of the style of player of (senior linebacker) Brandon Bell, a guy who’s quiet but understands the game and makes plays because he sees it quicker than other guys. Kevin’s got a great feel inside."
Source: 247 Sports
Jun 9 - 6:59 PM

Penn State junior T Paris Palmer has been displaced at left tackle and is not assured of a starting position.

Palmer replaced Donovan Smith last year. His effectiveness can in part be judged by how many times you saw cleanup crews shoveling Christian Hackenberg off the turf. Andrew Nelson, considered the team's best lineman, has been moved to left tackle. Noah Beh and Palmer will duke it out for the right tackle job this summer.
Source: ESPN.com
Jun 9 - 5:32 PM

Penn State four-star 2017 commit QB Sean Clifford is headed to Elite 11.

Clifford is one of 12 picked to compete at the showcase, which goes down at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. between July 5-10. He's the third Nittany Lions quarterback to make the cut, following freshman Jake Zembiec's appointment last year and Christian Hackenberg's appearance in 2012. ESPN ranks Clifford No. 97 overall.
Source: Penn Live
Jun 8 - 7:32 PM

Penn State redshirt freshman QB Tommy Stevens isn't sure if he closed the gap on redshirt sophomore QB Trace McSorley during spring practice.

"I'm not sure," Stevens said. "I've just been working as hard as I could with Trace. ... And whatever happens, happens." Perhaps he's being too hard on himself, because Stevens did enough for HC James Franklin to refuse to close the quarterback competition prior to the summer. "I don't think it's fair to our football team or to Tommy right now to name a starter when I think Tommy can really close the gap between now and [camp]," Franklin said following the spring game. Franklin says Stevens is a high-percentage passer who needs to refine his technique.
Source: ESPN.com
Jun 8 - 6:52 PM

Penn State coach James Franklin says redshirt sophomore QB Trace McSorley has a slight edge over redshirt freshman Tommy Stevens heading into summer camp.

"I don't think it's fair to our football team or to Tommy right now to name a starter when I think Tommy can really close the gap between now and [camp]," Franklin said after the spring game. "That's also going to keep a competitive edge in our locker room and keep Trace working, because he's got a lot of areas to improve in as well." McSorley outplayed Stevens in the scrimmage, going 23-of-27 for 281 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
Source: ESPN.com
Jun 7 - 5:58 PM

Rivals recruiting analyst Adam Gorney wrote that Penn State five-star 2018 DE Micah Parsons is "fierce and relentless coming off the edge."

Parsons will be a participant at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta next week. It figures to test the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder to the max, as Gorney notes that he "will be dealing with some of the best offensive tackles in the country who have seemingly unlimited amounts of power." Scout.com has already slapped five stars on Parsons, while Rivals currently ranks him as a four-star prospect. That could change, though. Gorney wrote that he is "one step away" from earning that extra Rivals star. A big performance in Atlanta could boost his already sky-high stock.
Source: Rivals
Jun 5 - 7:36 PM

Rivals recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt wrote that Penn State four-star 2017 QB Sean Clifford "has very few weaknesses and has the intangibles needed to lead an offense."

"[Clifford] took part in a cold and snowy Rivals Camp Series: Columbus in April, but did not let the elements affect him," Helmholdt noted. "The growth from last year is noticeable in both his arm strength and his demeanor." Rivals ranks the 6-foot-2, 207-pound Cincinnati native as the No. 181 overall prospect for the 2017 cycle. He stands as the outlet's No. 9 pro-quarterback prospect.
Source: Rivals
Jun 3 - 4:44 PM

ESPN's Kevin Weidl praised Penn State sophomore RB Saquon Barkley for his combination of power, agility, burst, competitiveness and strength as a 220-pounder.

Remember how many defenders Ohio State shipped to the NFL Draft last month? Last year, as a true freshman, Barkley ripped the Buckeyes for 194 yards on 26 carries. "LSU's Leonard Fournette and Florida State's Dalvin Cook get a lot of national attention -- and for good reason," Weidl wrote. "Fans, however, need to keep an out for Barkley." Barkley set the school record for rushing by a freshman with 1,076 yards last year.
Jun 2 - 2:34 PM

Scout.com national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn relayed that five-star 2018 DE Micah Parsons played corner, middle linebacker, receiver and running back during the East Coast Elite 7-on-7.

"[Parsons] is incredibly quick, he changes directions like a safety, he is loose, he plays at a fast pace and he dominates in nearly everything he does," Dohn wrote. "His speed and desire to compete stood out above everything else, and that is saying something given his immense talent." The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder committed to Penn State in late February. Per Dohn, he is not expected to reopen his recruitment.
May 26 - 6:00 PM

Penn State junior LB Jason Cabinda was named to the preseason Lott IMPACT trophy watch list.

The Lott IMPACT Trophy is given to the top defensive player who makes the biggest impact both on and off the field. Cabinda ranked No. 14 in the Big Ten with 7.7 tackles per game last season (100 tackles total), earning him an All-Big Ten honorable mention nod. Off the field, he was a high school honor student.
May 21 - 12:21 PM

ESPN's Austin Ward highlighted Penn State HC James Franklin as a coach who will need to jump out to a fast start in 2016.

"With in-state rival Pittsburgh on deck in Week 2," Ward wrote, "the Nittany Lions looking for revenge against Temple in Week 3 following last year’s loss and a difficult trip to Michigan on tap after that, the heat could get cranked all the way up on Franklin in a hurry." Penn State finished with a 7-6 record last season, boosting Franklin's overall record with the Nittany Lions to a lackluster 14-12. Ward warned that "[a] sluggish start might prove to be the beginning of the end for him at Penn State."
Source: ESPN.com
May 20 - 2:44 PM

ESPN's Mitch Sherman wrote that Penn State sophomore RB Saquon Barkley "could vault into the [Heisman] conversation with a big September."

"At 5-foot-11 and 220 pounds, he’s built to endure punishment," Sherman wrote. "And who doesn’t appreciate a physical back in the Penn State white and blue? The opportunity for statement performances arrive early at rival Pitt and in the league opener at Michigan." HC James Franklin said earlier this offseason that he "[doesn't] know if [he's] seen someone like Saquon." The bruiser rushed for 1,076 yards and seen touchdowns last season. For the time being, though, Barkley is not viewed as a legit Heisman contender by Vegas. "With the exception of Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, no player in the Big Ten is on the radar in early Heisman handicapping," according to Sherman.
Source: ESPN.com
May 18 - 3:01 PM

Penn State OC Joe Moorhead said that sophomore RB Saquon Barkley "does some things that are freakishly athletic that the great ones do."

Moorhead is new to the Nittany Lions and in order to get a better feel for the offensive talent he has on hand, he went back and watched tape of every 2015 contest. Not too surprisingly, Barkley immediately jumped out on film. "The last thing you anticipate is a guy leaping over a defender like a tall building in a single bound, and that's what occurred," Moorhead said. "The first time I saw it on tape it caught me by surprise." HC James Franklin is of a like opinion, saying, "I've been doing this for 22 years. I don't know if I've seen someone like Saquon -- and not just physically. He has handled all of this attention really well, better than I would have imagined." Last season, the 5-foot-11, 222-pounder rushed for 1,076 yards (5.9 YPC) and seven touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 161 yards and a score. That he did all of this playing in a disjointed (to put it kindly) offense makes those statistical feats all the more impressive.
Source: CBS Sports
May 9 - 4:35 PM


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