Pre-season Depth Chart - July 24
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin released the Nittany Lions' depth chart heading into the start of pre-season camp, which begins on Aug. 4.
Heading into camp, each player begins the season with a clean slate as the team competes for starting positions. Therefore, the first depth chart of the fall season features assignments ranked by seniority. The depth chart includes 11 players with senior eligibility (seven fifth-year seniors), including three on offense, seven on defense and one specialist.
On offense, the tandem of Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak lead the list of 11 Nittany Lion running backs. Belton and Zwinak head into their senior campaigns after combining for 1,792 rushing yards in 2013. Fellow senior Miles Dieffenbach is the most experienced player on the offensive side of the ball with 23 career starts.
On defense, the list of seniors includes the team's most experienced player in safety Adrian Amos. The senior has started 25 career games as a Nittany Lion. Fellow seniors Ryan Keiser and Jesse Della Valle will join Amos in an experienced secondary.
Veteran linebacker Mike Hull will lead the linebacking corps into camp. Hull is the team's top returning tackler from 2013 (78 stops). Brad Bars (DE), C.J. Olaniyan (DE) and Tyrone Smith (DT) make up the senior trio on the defensive line.
Placekicker Sam Ficken is the lone senior specialist on the roster. Ficken broke Craig Fayak's school record of 13-straight made field goals with 15-straight successful kicks stretching from the end of 2012 into 2013.
The depth chart features six tight ends, which includes the standout trio of returnees - junior Jesse James (Y), junior Kyle Carter (F) and sophomore Adam Breneman (Y). Sophomore Brent Wilkerson (F) is back to full strength after missing 2013 due to injury. Sophomore Tom Pancoast (Y) joins the tight end group, in addition to true freshman Mike Gesicki (F).
Young talent stands out on the pre-season depth chart. The initial depth chart includes 33 players with true freshman eligibility (19 on offense, 11 on defense and three specialists). In total, there are 57 players with either true freshman or redshirt freshman eligibility. The depth chart includes 85 players with sophomore or freshman eligibility and 33 players with junior or senior eligibility.
The Lions return 40 letterwinners and 15 starters (seven on offense, seven on defense, one specialist) from 2013.
The 2014 schedule features a trio of 2013 Top 10 teams. The Nittany Lions will host Rose Bowl Champion Michigan State (Nov. 29), Ohio State (Oct. 25, 8 p.m.), Northwestern (Sept. 27-Homecoming, 12 p.m.) and Maryland (Nov. 1) during its 2014 Big Ten home schedule. Penn State will host Akron (Sept. 6, 12 p.m.), UMass (Sept. 20) and Temple (Nov. 15) during its non-conference slate.
Penn State kicks off the 2014 season at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 30 (ESPN2) at the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland, against UCF.
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Pre-season Football Depth Chart Released
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