Last season, the Nittany Lions saw some incredible performances from their tight ends as Brenton Strange and Theo Johnson became core members of the offense. Now, heading into the 2023 season, the Penn State tight end room is looking to improve despite losing some talent. From blocking to pass-catching, here is how the Penn State football tight end room is getting better throughout the spring and heading into the 2023 season according to head coach James Franklin.
James Franklin comments on the younger members of the Penn State tight end room
Losing Brenton Strange — a Penn State football standout in 2022 — is going to be hard on the Nittany Lions’ young offense this fall; however, it is not a loss that Penn State cannot afford. Heading into the Blue-White game and beyond, head coach James Franklin is quite high on his tight ends, though there is still work to be done with the younger players.
“I think that position (the tight ends), you could make the argument is probably the biggest transition, obviously taking quarterback out of it,” James Franklin stated following the Nittany Lions’ practice on Tuesday. “You could make the argument that tight end is the biggest transition for guys to make from high school to college, and the reason I say that is that most high school tight ends never block.
“It is a challenge, it has growing pains, but we try to challenge these guys because the reality is that West Virginia (Penn State’s Week 1 opponent) won’t feel sorry for us if one of those guys is on the field … they’ll be way ahead come summer camp by going through it, but it’s not a whole lot of fun for them right now. It’s like they’ve been dropped on another planet.”
The older tight ends are standing out
“Khalil [Dinkins] has really done some nice things,” James Franklin said. “[He has] taken some strides. Like a lot of inexperienced players, he has gotta be more consistent — he does some great things one day, or one play, and there’s others where he is not as consistent as he needs to be. But he’s got a ton of potential and a ton of talent; I’m proud of him, he has come a long way in the past year, but we need him to grow.
“We had three really good tight ends last year — we need to make sure we have three really good tight ends this year.”
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