This past Tuesday, Penn State released its depth chart for this weekend’s game.
Recently named starting quarterback Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.) will be taking up the helm to replace record-breaker Christian Hackenberg.
Franklin has been known to describe McSorley as a “Steady Eddie” who is unaffected by nerves or the terror of cracking under pressure.
In the running back category, national star Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) is the talk of the town. However, also looking to make names for themselves include running backs Andre Robinson (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), Mark Allen (Hyattsville, Md.), and Miles Sanders.
Other notable names on the depth chart include Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J.) at tight end, DaeSean Hamilton (Fredericksburg, Va.), Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del.), and Saeed Blacknall (Manalapan, N.J.) as starting receivers, and Garrett Sickels (Red Bank, N.J.) and Evan Schwan (Harrisburg, Pa.) on the defensive side of things.
Captain Brandon Bell (Mays Landing, N.J.) leads the linebackers, some of who include Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J.) and Nyeem Wartman-White (Philadelphia, Pa.). Penn State is not called Linebacker U for nothing, and the linebackers have their work cut out for them this season.
Much in need of a new punter, Penn State has true freshman Blake Gillikin (Smyrna, Ga.) listed as the top punter, while junior Tyler Davis (St. Charles, Ill.) returns for another season as kicker. Other recognizable names include Chris Gulla (Toms River, N.J.) as the top holder, and Tyler Yazujian (Royersford, Pa.) as the long snapper. Nick Scott (Fairfax, Va.) and Barkley are currently slated as the top choices for kick returners.
Never shy to let true freshmen show their talent, Franklin has seven true freshmen listed on the depth chart: Will Fries (Cranford, N.J.), Michal Menet (Birdsboro, Pa.), Connor McGovern (Larksville, Pa.), Jake Zembiec (Rochester, N.Y.), Miles Sanders (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Gillikin, and Alex Barbir (Cumming, Ga.).
When asked about what would be included in Franklin’s pregame message on Sunday, Franklin simply said, “I’m not big in the pregame speech…I believe we do that pregame speech Sunday through Friday before our practice and in our team meetings every single day.”
To round out his press conference Franklin gave some words about what the excitement of the season home opener means to the program.
“You want to go out and you want to compete against and you want to be able to do it in a stadium in front of your loved ones and your family and friends and fellow students and alumni,” said Franklin. “I feel like our team feels very, very confident and I feel like our team feels prepared for this opportunity.”
Coach Franklin always says it best. See you Saturday, Nittany Nation!