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James Franklin talks Penn State football WR depth with Josh Pate at Big Ten Media Days

Penn State head coach James Franklin sat with Josh Pate to speak about the 2023 Nittany Lions and the two went in depth with the WR room for this fall.



James Franklin, Penn State football, Josh Pate
Jul 26, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin speaks to the media during the Big 10 football media day at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of the standard interviews that Penn State football head coach James Franklin held with the press during the Big Ten Media Days this week, he also spent time with college football analyst for CBS Sports Josh Pate on his show Late Kick with Josh Pate. The interview is about ten minutes long and the two cover a variety of topics surrounding the program. One of the more intriguing parts of their discussion the two speak about how Coach Franklin feels about the wide receiver position at Penn State in 2023.

James Franklin talks Penn State football WR depth with Josh Pate

There are two players that will see a ton of action during the 2023 season at the wide receiver position, returning veteran KeAndre Lambert-Smith and incoming Kent State transfer Dante Cephas. Both players have proven they deserve to lead the room and have earned their right for playing time. But from the third wide receiver and beyond, that needs to be sorted out during fall camp.

When Josh Pate asked James Franklin about the wide receivers this season Franklin said, “So that was probably one of our question marks going into the spring and summer of figuring out who that third wide receiver was it going to be, and then also the backups. Combination of players that need to take the next step and there’s a number of those guys in position to do that and then also a transfer or two in Cephas and McClain that transferred in from Florida State.”

Outside of McClain, there are three other players that could step into that role Omari Evans, Harrison Wallace, or Liam Clifford all have a legitimate argument to see the field in a larger role this season. I imagine we will see a heavy rotation of those four players throughout the first few games of the season.

A Tight End could replace a Wide Reciever according to Franklin

As Franklin continued his commentary on the receiver room he said, “We’ve got as talented of a tight end room as there is. So now, what gives us the best chance to be successful? Is it 12 personnel? Because our 12 personnel guys have the ability to play like 11 as well. They’re true H-Backs that can play slot receiver or line up in the backfield as a traditional H-back or tight end.”

That’s the beauty of the 2023 team, there are so many tight ends that are waiting to see the field. If more of those players emerge during fall camp the offense might flow better with having two tight ends on the field at all times. Then, to Franklin’s point, Penn State could line up a tight end in the slot almost replacing a third wide receiver. Theo Johnson and Tyler Warren would be the first two in line, but Khalil Dinkins and Andrew Rappleyea are exciting prospects that will push for playing time this fall.

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Former Editor-In-Chief at Victory Bell Rings, Morgan is the current Site Manager for Basic Blues Nation, host of the Basic Blues Podcast, and co-host of the weekly Penn State Roar Room spaces. Morgan lives in upstate New York with his wife and cats.


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