With a little more than one week left of spring practice, don’t look for Penn State’s depth chart to have much clarity at middle linebacker or tight end.
Penn State came into spring ball with glaring needs at both positions. The Nittany Lions need to replace middle linebacker Jason Cabinda and tight end Mike Gesicki, and by the sound they will continue seeking answers at both spots in the summer.
“At tight end I think we got some guys that we’re excited about, but no, we’re not in a position right now to say who the starter is,” James Franklin said Wednesday on the Big Ten teleconference. “I think there’s going to be a really good battle between [Jon] Holland, [Nick] Bowers, [Danny] Dalton, [Joe] Arcangelo and then the new guys coming in with [Zack] Kuntz and [Pat] Freiermuth.
“There’s competition, but I wouldn’t say at this point we’re comfortable saying who the starter is going to be.”
Bowers’ athleticism impressed shortly after his arrival, but he’s struggled to stay healthy. Dalton was the name quarterback Trace McSorley mentioned a few times this spring as someone who was breaking out and making plays. Kuntz early enrolled, which should help him push to see the field. He likely will need to continue filling out his 6-foot-7 frame, and like all young tight ends improve as a blocker in order to potentially see the field.
Franklin said the staff is still working through options at middle linebacker. Freshman Micah Parsons was moved from the Mike to the Will this spring. Will linebacker Cam Brown, who continues learning all three linebacker spots, was among the players mentioned by Franklin as a potential option in the middle. He mentioned Parsons as an option, too.
“With Jan Johnson, Ellis Brooks and Cam Brown possibly in there and the young guys like [Nick] Tarburton and Micah and Jesse [Luketa], it gives us some options. But once again I don’t know if I would say like we really know who those guys are,” Franklin said.