Penn State’s running game figures to be a major storyline for the Nittany Lions this offseason after a disappointing 2021 season. Among those who may no longer be included in the running game plans may be Noah Cain, who has reportedly entered the NCAA transfer portal on Wednesday afternoon.
The junior running back will have two years of eligibility to use at whichever school he ends up continuing his college journey. Cain has played three seasons, including as a true freshman in 2019, but has two years remaining thanks to an extra year of eligibility granted to all student-athletes by the NCAA during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unknown if Cain plans on using his extra year of eligibility.
Cain appeared in all 13 games played by Penn State in 2021. He finished second on the team with 106 carries for 350 yards. He led the team with four rushing touchdowns.
— 247Sports (@247Sports) January 12, 2022
It has been a tough two seasons for Cain. After a promising freshman season was capped by a strong showing alongside former teammate Journey Brown in the Cotton Bowl victory over Memphis (Cain rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns in the win), Cain was injured early in the 2020 season opener at Indiana after just three rushing attempts for 13 yards. Cain’s injury sidelined him for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Entering the 2021 season, Cain was expected to be the lead running back in a dynamic running como with Keyvone Lee and Baylor transfer Jonathan Lovett. All three were named to the Doak Walker Award watch list prior to the start of the season, but Cain lacked production on the ground for Penn State during the season. After scoring three touchdowns in the first three games of the season, Cain battled injury concerns and never rushed for more than 43 yards in a game since his 45 rushing yards in a win against Auburn.
Cain was a member of Penn State’s Class of 2019. The four-star recruit from IMG Academy chose Penn State over offers from Georgia, Auburn, Florida and more.
Despite lacking much production to show off the past two seasons, Cain figures to be a solid running back option for any team in need of help running the football. Cain’s shortcomings could be tied to injury concerns and a lack of a solid offensive line blocking for him. If Cain lands in the right situation, he could live up to some of the hype surrounding him coming out of high school before his college career is done.
As for Penn State, Lee is now the team’s leading rusher coming back in 2022. But this may help accelerate the path to Class of 2022 running back Nicholas Singleton to getting some opportunities to make a splash in the offense. Singleton is the nation’s top-rated running back and the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year.
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