Ahead of the Penn State Blue-White Scrimmage, Tagline Sports takes a look at where the Penn State Nittany Lions football program is going in 2022 and previews the upcoming season.
The Penn State Nittany Lions have not had the greatest of seasons these last two years, with a five-game losing streak to start the COVID shortened 2020 season and then a collapse from 4th in the nation to unranked a season ago. James Franklin’s squad had all the possibilities of a dream season with wins at No. 12 Wisconsin, versus No. 22 Auburn, against reigning MAC Champion Ball State, and 2020 Big Ten darling Indiana, but from there it was all downhill, with a tough to watch loss at Iowa in a match-up of 3 versus 4, a 9 OT dredging defeat at the hands of Illinois, and then an Ohio State loss that always felt like one play away from victory. Poor play plagued the Nittany Lions with losses against Michigan, Michigan State, and Arkansas, which made the highs of the season seem so distant. But so, they return, with new hopes under nine-year coach James Franklin, who just inked a new ten-deal to outlast both the outgoing President and the outgoing Athletic Director that brought him in from Vanderbilt, and long-time quarterback Sean Clifford, who hopes his fourth year at the helm will be his best. The first true dark offseason for Franklin in his tenue did lead to a few key transfers, with likely offensive line starter Des Holmes heading to Arizona State and potential defensive line start Joseph Appiah Darkwa on his way to Temple… though perhaps the biggest loss was in running back Noah Cain, who took his talents to LSU in hopes that his injury and running woes will be left behind in Happy Valley. Meanwhile, fan hopes were high with a tremendous recruiting class, 6th in the nation and 2nd in the Big Ten, with potential future start due Drew Allar and Nick Singleton leading the pack. While most of these recruits will take time to get into the system, many hope that the answers to the big National Championship question will be among them. Maybe the best welcome addition will be on the sidelines, as former Miami Head Coach Manny Diaz takes up the defense, with star players in Joey Porter Jr, Kalen King, Ji’Ayir Brown, Nick Tarburton, and PJ Mustipher ready to lead. Still, the Nittany Lions hopes may rest on the shoulders of the offensive line, which has been the bane of the Nittany Lions’ existence the last forever years. With constant liability Rasheed Walker gone, younger guys like Olu Fashanu and Landon Tengwall will look to strengthen the line alongside veterans Juice Scruggs and Caedan Wallace. In a Big Ten that keeps getting bigger, stronger, and faster, will Penn State’s highest players be enough to take James Franklin to the promise land? Or will it be more of the same – close but no cigar – for the Central PA faithful.Continue reading “2022 Penn State Nittany Lions Football Preview”