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The transition from spring football to full-blown preseason coverage for the upcoming college football season is well underway. With kickoff times being announced and preseason All-Big Ten teams being released, the anticipation for the 2021 season is building. And a look at what Penn State brings into the new season suggests the Nittany Lions could be primed for a bit of a rebound season after a difficult 2020 outcome. While many of the key players will look familiar to a season ago, the influx of new potential in the Class of 2021 offers something else to look forward to.
One of the standouts from the freshman class during the spring was easily Kalen King. So it was no wonder King was named on a list compiled by 247 Sports analyst Chris Humer of the 100 true freshmen who will have an impact on the 2021 college football season.
Here’s what Humer had to say about King;
There’s an argument to be made that King had the strongest spring of any true freshman — anywhere. King, a four-star prospect from Detroit power Cass Technical High School, led Penn State in takeaways this spring. He was so good that James Franklin said this on April 14: “Kalen King is probably the most advanced freshman that we have had since we’ve been here in terms of his ability to practice and compete, both physically and mentally.”
A few days later, King made a pick-six on the opening drive of Penn State’s open scrimmage. King is a lock for the Nittany Lions’ cornerback rotation and could push his way into the starting lineup.
The quick establishment of King as a potential piece of the Penn State defense has afforded Penn State some possible flexibility in the defensive secondary. Penn State appears to be deep enough at the cornerback and safety positions that it has allowed James Franklin to dabble in having Marquis Wilson play as a wide receiver, if not finding him ways to play on both sides of the football. Between the return of Tariq Castro-Fields, Jonathan Sutherland, Joey Porter Jr., and King, Penn State appears to have some solid options to work with at the cornerback position.
But if King can prove to have the same kind of big-play potential against live opponents that he showed in the spring practices and scrimmages, he may have a pretty significant role in the Penn State defense before too long.
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