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Penn State football has a secret weapon in 2023: Depth

The Nittany Lions are heading into this season with a secret weapon on their side.



Penn State football, Liam Andrews, Elite offensive line prospect
Penn State Blue/White game; April 15th, 2023. Credit: Gracie Carella//Basic Blues Nation

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — In 2019, the Nittany Lions had a loaded team that led the program to its third 11-win season, third top-10 finish, and second New Year’s Six bowl win in four full seasons. Following that incredible year, Penn State football fell into a slump of depth issues due to COVID-19 and other issues; for the past few years, James Franklin has been trying to address these concerns, and heading into the 2023 season, Penn State may be back where it needs to be like in 2019.

Penn State football has a secret weapon this year: Depth

As the saying goes, “A team is only as good as its weakest link.” This has been evident numerous times over the past few seasons, namely throughout the 2021 season. Despite a 5-0 start, Penn State football saw some critical injuries and could not recover — the 5-0 record slowly shrunk into a 7-6 finish with a loss to Arkansas in the Outback Bowl.

A season ago, Penn State’s depth appeared to be better, though, towards the end of the games against Michigan and Ohio State, it was clear that something was still lacking for the Nittany Lions. According to James Franklin, Penn State football seems to be back at full strength as far as depth heading into the 2023 season.

“We’re just back into a different place from a depth perspective,” James Franklin said of his team following the Blue/White game. “Probably pre-COVID, that has been valuable. We’ve still got some guys coming in that we’re excited about so that will be great.”

Team needs ahead of the 2023 season

Despite Penn State’s incredible depth all over the field and on both sides of the football, head coach James Franklin says there are still some areas of concern that the Nittany Lions might look to address with the transfer portal.

“I think we’re in a good place right now, but I think we need more depth and more competition at D-Tackle,” Franklin said. “I think we need more depth and competition at wide receiver. I think we could get by West Virginia — or by game four or game five — I think we could have six guys that we feel good about. But it’s not competitive … I want there to be legitimate competition at every position.

“Besides that, we won’t turn down a great player at any position,” Franklin said about using the transfer portal, which re-opened on Saturday.

From quarterbacks to defensive backs and more, Penn State football is in a better spot with depth than we have seen in quite some time. This gives more security from an injury perspective, and it should help the Nittany Lions later in games and down the stretch of a physically grueling 9-game Big Ten football schedule.

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