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.
This effort continues with a snapshot look at one of Penn State’s younger wide receivers going into the new season, Tyler Johnson. Though not much is likely to be expected from Johnson in the Penn State offense in 2023 as a reserve option off the sideline, Johnson does have some long-term development fans can be looking forward to.
Preseason Player Profile
Hometown: Martinsville, VA
247Sports Composite Ranking
[3-stars] | [No. 19 in Virginia] | [No. 100 overall wide receiver]
Class of 2022
Class in 2023: Redshirt freshman
Penn State attacked the wide receiver position pretty well in the Class of 2022, which was headlined and started with the commitment from Kaden Saunders. Tyler Johnson was one of the later additions at receiver but one the staff hopes will prove to be a hidden gem in the recruiting class after putting in early work in the state of Virginia, a key recruiting state for the program,
Johnson was less heralded in the recruiting rankings but he had the kind of size Penn State’s staff thinks will work well in the offense once he is developed a bit more. The long-term outlook for Johnson is what Penn State is banking on here, so it may take just a little more time before that vision is truly realized.
Tyler Johnson did not see any game action in 2022 behind a crowded wide receiver depth chart. But Johnson did help contribute to the team as a key member of the developmental squad. Johnson was named the team’s developmental squad player of the week for the Maryland game in mid-November.
By not appearing in any games in 2022, Johnson preserved a redshirt season of eligibility, giving him four more seasons at his disposal.
Depth Chart Overview
After losing two leading receivers to the NFL from the 2022 roster, Penn State knows it must address the wide receiver position for 2023 if it is going to have any success on offense. With Parker Washington and Mitchell Tinsley gone, Penn State’s top leading receiver returning in 2023 is KeAndre Lambert-Smith, who should lock down the team’s leading role as a slot receiver this fall.
Penn State added Malik McClain from Florida State in the spring out of the transfer portal and Kent State transfer Dante Cephas will join the team to likely fill a starting job. Penn State also saw a breakout performance in the Blue-White Game from Omari Evans which may have elevated him to a more prominent role in the offense this fall.
So where does Johnson fall into the picture? It would seem likely Johnson will be playing a reserve role on offense, with perhaps a chance to get some playing time on special teams. Penn State’s two-deep depth chart may start out with Johnson just missing the cut as he continues to be developed on the offensive side of things.