What you need to know ... Anthony Morelli will be fine. The
highly touted prospect should be a steady, productive
quarterback with some fantastic receivers to throw to and two
veteran running backs to hand off to. Tony Hunt is an unsung
producer who should crank out another 1,000-yard season even
with Austin Scott getting a little more work. Derrick Williams,
Deon Butler, and Jordan Norwood forms one of the nation's best
young receiving corps. The offensive line will be an issue with
only one returning starter, but that one, tackle Levi Brown, is
among the best around. The attack won't crank out 422 yards and
34.4 points per game again, but it'll be effective.
Passing: Anthony Morelli
13-20, 155 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Tony Hunt
174 carries, 1,047 yds, 6 TD
Receiving: Deon Butler
37 catches, 691 yds, 9 TD
Star of the offense: Senior OT Levi Brown
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior QB
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OG Gerald Cadogan
Best pro prospect: Brown
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Brown, 2) WR Derrick
Williams, 3) RB Tony Hunt
Strength of the offense: Wide receivers, running back
Weakness of the offense:
Michael Robinson was the Big Ten's best player last
season rushing for 806 yards and 11 touchdowns, passing for
2,350 yards, and leading the team to the conference title. Now
it's up to Anthony Morelli, a prospect Penn State fans have been
waiting to see shine for a few years, to grow into an efficient
leader. He has the weapons around him to get the offense moving,
but he's not going to have the veteran line to work behind that
Robinson enjoyed. Paul Cianciolo is a big bomber who should see
his share of time.
The key to the unit: Don't press. As good as Michael
Robinson was last year, the Nittany Lions finished tenth in the
league in passing and seventh in efficiency. Anthony Morelli has
to improve on that while not making too many mistakes.
Quarterback Rating: 7
- Anthony Morelli, Jr. - 13-20, 155 yds, 65%, 1 TD, 1
O.K. hotshot; time to shine. The star recruit of a few years ago
wasn't anything special early in his career, but he appears
ready to become the steady passer now that he has been in the
system for a few years. At 6-4 and 220 pounds, he has the size,
the athleticism, and now, the poise to be a great leader for the
offense. With the weapons he ahs to work with, he should put up
fantastic passing numbers. While not Michael Robinson running
the ball, he can move.
- Paul Cianciolo, Soph.
The 6-4, 222-pound sophomore was better than current starter
Anthony Morelli is 2005 spring practices, but he couldn't get
past the number three spot. Now the big bomber will be the
number two man in the mix with good smarts, a live arm, and a
little bit of experience.
- Kevin Suhey, RFr.
If the name sounds familiar, it's because he's the fourth
generation of Suhey to play under Joe Paterno. While not huge,
the 6-1, 200-pound Suhey has a decent arm and is a smart student
of the game. While not a runner, he's not immobile.
like Tony Hunt and Austin Scott have been around since the
beginning of the Joe Paterno era. They're solid veterans who
should combine for at least 1,500 yards with more work on their
shoulders after the loss of running quarterback Michael
Robinson. The should form a solid 1-2 punch with the speedy
Rodney Kinlaw getting a little more work. BranDon Snow is one of
the Big Ten's better fullbacks.
The key to the unit: More big plays. The offense has
to use receivers way too often when it's looking for a spark
from the ground game.
Running Back Rating: 7.5
- Tony Hunt, Sr. - 174 carries, 1,047 yds, 6 ypc, 6 TD,
20 catches, 206 yds, 10.3 ypc
While he's not the fastest back around, the 230-pound senior has
had to carry the load at times over the last few years and grew
into an unsung (at least early on) all-around player with five,
100-yard games highlighted by a 151-yard, two touchdown day
against Wisconsin. The Second Team All-Big Ten performer was the
offense in 2004 when things weren't going well, and now he'll be
the workhorse for the running game early on.
- Fullback BranDon Snow, Sr. - 10 carries, 25 yds, 2.4 ypc, 3 TD, 2 catches, 12 yds
While he gets a little bit of work as a short-yardage runner,
the 6-1, 242-pound senior is known for being a fantastic lead
blocker. The former linebacker was one of the unnoticed key cogs
of last year's offense who showed no ill-effects of a broken
foot suffered a few years ago.
- Austin Scott, Sr. - 66 carries, 273 yds, 4.1 ypc, 3 TD, 3
catches, 27 yds, 9 ypc
The one-time superstar recruit has been a mega-disappointment,
but he came through in the Orange Bowl when starter Tony Hunt
went down running 26 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
He's effective when he gets a little bit of work, but he has
rarely been allowed to get into a lather except in garbage time.
At 209 pounds, he provides decent power with good
- Rodney Kinlaw, Jr. - 18 carries, 34 yards, 2 touchdowns
The speedy Kinlaw saw a few carries with the most work coming in
garbage time against Illinois, but he really made his mark as a
kick returner once Derrick Williams went down averaging 29.6
yards on eight returns. He lit up the poor Illini for 109 yards
on two kickoff returns. While fast, he lost a little bit off his
fastball after a knee injury earlier in his career.
- Fullback Matt Hahn, Jr. - 2 carries, 9 yds
Quick enough to play tailback and big enough to be an effective
fullback, the 230-pound junior has decent hands and should be
used more behind BranDon Snow.
The receiving corps didn't quite turn into the immediate
killer many were hoping it would be, but it showed a ton of
potential to grow into something special. Top recruit Derrick
Williams was on his way to a nice year before breaking his arm,
but that allowed for Jordan Norwood to see more meaningful time.
Deon Butler emerged as the team's best receiver last season and
should, at the very least, be a sensational number two target
next to Williams. Patrick Hall and Mark Farris should be able to
replace Isaac Smolko without too much of a problem.
The key to the unit: Take the next step up. The green
players of last year are all experienced and should grow into
the Big Ten's best corps if everything breaks right.
Receiver Rating: 8.5
- Derrick Williams, Soph. - 22 catches, 289 yds, 13.1 ypc, 1
TD, 22 carries, 105 yds, 4.8 ypc, 3 TD
The superstar recruit of last year didn't quite blow up like
many thought he would, but he proved to be a nice kick-start for
the stagnant offense. He has 4.3 speed and proved he can be
clutch with the game-winning, last-minute touchdown catch
against Northwestern. He was having a steady year before
breaking his arm on a kick return in the loss to Michigan.
Expect him to be used as a runner as well as a receiver and kick
Deon Butler, Soph. - 37 catches, 691 yds, 18.7 ypc,
While all the attention was paid to the star incoming freshmen
last year, the former walk-on defensive back turned out to be
the best target of the bunch leading the way in receiving and
touchdown catches. Steady throughout the year, the speed
sophomore blew up against Wisconsin with five catches for 125
yards and two touchdowns.
- Tight end Patrick Hall, Sr. - 2 catches, 6 yds, 2 TD
Expect Hall to shine as the new starting tight end. He's a
good-blocking 6-1 and 242 pounds who caught three, three-yard
touchdown passes last season in his backup role.
- Jordan Norwood, Soph. - 32 catches, 422 yds, 13.2 ypc,
2 carries, 24 yds
Norwood ended up being more productive than the more heralded
freshman, Derrick Williams, after taking over the starting
flanker job over the final three games. The quick true sophomore
was the team's main receiving weapon in the Orange Bowl catching
six passes for 110 yards.
- Terrell Golden, Jr. - 9 catches, 210 yds, 23.3 ypc,
The 6-3 veteran hasn't made too many plays over the last few
years, but he has been an occasional big-play target highlighted
by a 47-yard touchdown catch against Central Michigan. He'll
start out behind Derrick Williams and should see time in
- Tight end Jordan Lyons, Soph.
The 6-4, 249-pound Lyons will be used as a receiver and a safety
valve. The former quarterback has a little bit of experience
with good hands.
Only one starter returns to a group that was night-and-day
better than 2004 when it didn't do much of anything. Levi Brown is an
All-America talent who'll be the rock on the left side, and then the
prayers go out hoping for everything to come together. There's size, a
little bit of experience, and a few interesting prospects like guard
Gerald Cadogan, but this will be the team's biggest concern going into
The key to the unit: Pass protection. Anthony Morelli
isn't as mobile as Michael Robinson and will need a few extra ticks to
make the passing game consistently effective. .
Offensive Line Rating: 7
- OT Levi Brown, Sr.
One of the nation's best offensive linemen, the 6-5, 328-pound senior
was an All-American last year and now has to be even better as the only
returning starter to the line. He's a durable, dominant all-around
blocker who'll be the one the offense runs behind.
- OG Gerald Cadogan, Soph.
A phenomenal athlete, the 6-5, 311-pound sophomore will look to take
over for Charles Rush on the left side. Expected to grow into the
starting role and be a mainstay over the next three years, he'll benefit
by playing next to Levi Brown.
- C A.Q. Shipley, Soph.
The former defensive lineman moved over to the offensive line early last
year seeing time at center and guard before moving back to the defensive
side. While the 297-pound sophomore will start out in the middle, he
could end up being moved around where needed.
- OG Robert Price, Sr.
Price didn't play last year and now has battle with Greg Harrison to
take over for the steady Tyler Reed at right guard. At 299 pounds, Price
is a bigger option than Harrison with a great motor and the versatility
to play center in an emergency.
- OT John Shaw, Jr.
Brother of defensive lineman, Jim Shaw, John will try to step in on the
right side. He's an athletic 6-4 and 299 pounds, and will also be one of
the team's most closely watched players; he needs to shine right away.
- OG Greg Harrison, Soph.
Harrison will get every shot at winning the starting right guard job
battling with Robert Price. He's an athletic ant talented 6-3 and 290
pounds; it's just a question of time before he becomes a major factor.
- OT Mark Farris, Sr.
The 292-pound Farris will combine with Chris Auletta to rotate with John
Shaw at right tackle. With time at guard as well as tackle over his
career, he has a little bit of experience and will be called on early if
Shaw, a former defensive lineman, struggles.