2023 Penn State football snapshot profile: No. 7 Kaden Saunders

Going into the 2023 football season, Nittany Lions Wire will be looking at each scholarship player listed on the Penn State roster. Over the preseason, each profile will cover where the player is from, how recruiting websites rated them coming out of high school, and what role they will play for James Franklin this season.

We continue to take a look at this year’s roster for the Nittany Lions with a snapshot look at one of Penn State’s younger wide receivers hoping to see more steps forward in 2023. Kaden Saunders came to Penn State as one of the notable offensive additions in the Class of 2022, but he may still be working his way up the depth chart while others in the same recruiting class take on more prominent roles on the team this fall. But Saunders is not a name to be forgotten moving forward, and Penn State would love nothing more to see him force himself to be included in the offense this fall.

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Preseason Player Profile

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Hometown: Columbus, OH

Height: 5-10

Weight: 172

247Sports Composite Ranking

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[4-stars] | [No. 5 in Ohio] | [No. 12 overall wide receiver]

Class of 2022

Class in 2023: Redshirt freshman

Imagine how hard Penn State probably had to work to lure a four-star wide receiver right out of Columbus, Ohio, the home to the Ohio State Buckeyes. But that’s what happened with Kaden Saunders, a 2022 Under Armour All-American Game player and one of the top players in the state of Ohio.

While Penn State has made an effort to lock up some big offensive linemen to start a recruiting class in recent years, Saunders was the first on the board for the Nittany Lions in the Class of 2022. Saunders helped spearhead a recruiting effort that would land a top 10 class for James Franklin that included other key players such as Nick Singleton, Kaytron Allen, Drew Allar, and Abdul Carter.


Career Stats

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Kaden Saunders only stepped on the field for three games in his true freshman season, allowing him to preserve a season of redshirt eligibility in the process. Saunders was played as a deep reserve as the coaching staff worked on developing him a bit more before throwing him into any significant roles in the offense.

Both of Saunders’ receptions came in a blowout win over Ohio. Saunders was named the team’s developmental squad offensive player of the week for Penn State’s victory over the Indiana Hoosiers in early November 2022.


Depth Chart Overview

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Penn State does have some things to sort out with the wide receiver position, but Kaden Saunders may not be one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle just yet in 2023. KeAndre Lambert-Smith returns as one locked-in starter in the offense but the Nittany Lions still have to replace Parker Washington and Mitchell Tinsley as the team’s top two leading receivers from a season ago.

Penn State is expected to fill one starting job with the arrival of Dante Cephas from Kent State by way of the transfer portal, and another starting job could be coming down to the spring’s breakout star Omari Evans or Harrison Wallace III. Florida State transfer Malik McClain, who joined the team in the spring, could also be in the mix for some playing time.


Saunders looks to be more of a slot receiver though, with the leading role expected to be filled by Lambert-Smith and Liam Clifford another likely secondary option on the rise as a redshirt sophomore. Saunders should make appearances in more than three games this season, but it may be another year before he blossoms into a more contributing factor in the offensive gameplan.

Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire