UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Bill O'Brien released a depth chart heading into the season-opener against Ohio on Monday.
The first depth chart of the fall season features 13 senior starters (five on
offense and eight on defense). With five
days remaining until Saturday's opener, there are still several positional
battles up for grabs at practice this week.
On offense, there will continue to be starting spot battles at right tackle between senior Mike Farrell and redshirt junior Adam Gress and at two wide receiver spots - redshirt junior Shawney Kersey and true freshman Trevor Williams and redshirt sophomore Alex Kenney and senior Evan Lewis.
Senior Matt McGloin was named the starting quarterback on June 1. McGloin has made superb progress commanding the Nittany Lion offense throughout training camp. Sophomore Paul Jones and true freshman Steven Bench currently share the second line behind McGloin for the No. 2 quarterback spot.
On defense, redshirt freshman Deion Barnes and senior Pete Massaro, who is working back into the rotation after slight injury kept him out of practice during a portion of camp, share the top line at one defensive end position. Junior DaQuan Jones and senior James Terry are in competition for a starting spot alongside Jordan Hill in the interior of the defensive line. Additionally, junior Stephen Obeng-Agyapong and senior Jake Fagnano are battling for a starting assignment at one safety position.
The depth chart features four quarterbacks, five running backs, 11 wide receivers and six tight ends. Senior Jordan Hill leads all returning players with 17 career starts.
One change to the depth chart on the offensive side of the ball is the addition of a Tight End Y/F position, which features junior Matt Lehman, who will play both tight end positions in Coach O'Brien's offense. Penn State will have great depth at the tight end spot with junior Garry Gilliam (Y) and Kyle Carter (F) filling starting spots. Freshman Jesse James (Y) and senior Brian Irvin (F) and freshman Brent Wilkerson (F) are all poised to be contributors.
Sophomore Sam Ficken is the starting placekicker and sophomore Alex Butterworth is the starting punter heading into the season.
There are 12 true freshmen listed on the three-deep depth chart. In addition to Bench, Williams, James and Wilkerson, the list includes center Wendy Laurent, running back Akeel Lynch, receivers Eugene Lewis, Malik Golden and Jonathan Warner on offense. Defensively, the true freshman list includes defensive tackle Austin Johnson, middle linebacker Nyeem Wartmen and cornerbacks Jordan Lucas and Da'Quan Davis.
Penn State kicks off at noon on Saturday (ESPN) against the Ohio Bobcats, marking the first of 10 bowl teams on the slate.
Penn State Football Eve will launch the season on Friday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. in Beaver Stadium, with gates opening at 6:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free for the festive event that kicks off a big Penn State sports weekend. Also on Aug. 31, the men's soccer team hosts Duquesne at 8:00 p.m. at Jeffrey Field and the women's volleyball team faces perennial power Stanford at 8 p.m. in the Nike Big Four Tournament at Rec Hall.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony