Penn State Top 25 players for 2022: Mitchell Tinsley

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Head coach James Franklin has just started to learn the ways of the transfer portal, and to kick off things in 2022 he has found a playmaker. Former Western Kentucky Hilltopper Mitchell Tinsley decided to leave the pass happy offense for a chance at something special in State College.

Quarterbacks Sean Clifford and Drew Allar should be very happy that Franklin found Tinsley in the portal. When you watch him you see a receiver with a similar skillset to what they had in Jahan Dotson, same role too.

Whether or not he can play the same and do as well for the Nittany Lions is to be determined. For now, enjoy Mitchell Tinsley in this offense because from day one he will make it better.

2021 in Review

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2021 was something that no one could have possibly expected from Western Kentucky, including Mitchell Tinsley. After being used in an offense that was less pass friendly in 2020, he was reborn into something completely different in 2021. The Hilltoppers were able to use the transfer portal themselves and brought in the Southland conferences star quarterback Bailey Zappe.

Zappe came up from Houston Baptist and he brought along his offensive coordinator. That offense saw Zappe break the NCAA single season passing touchdown record and his connection with Tinsley flashed a ton.

Tinsley racked up a whopping 1,402 receiving yards on 82 catches, add on a smooth 14 touchdowns and you have one of the best season a receiver could have. While Zappe decided to turn pro, Tinsley took advantage of the COVID year of eligibility and entered the portal where he would ultimately end up at Penn State.

Biggest question for 2022

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For Mitchell Tinsley this year it all comes down to one thing, can he win the one-on-ones against the physical corners of the Big Ten. Corners at places like Michigan and Ohio State have both the length and speed to hang with most of every type of receiver they face each year. Coincidentally those are two of Penn State’s biggest games each and every year.

If Tinsley can work and start to win against these corners then he and [autotag]Parker Washington[/autotag] may be one of the best receiving duos in the country. It is a big if but it is an attainable one.

2022 will be a success if...

(AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

His route to success is similar to that of Washington’s where it will all come down to how much he helps whoever is under center. If it is Sean Clifford, can he finally get him to open up the passing game like so many have been clamoring for? Or will he just stay the way he is and Tinsley’s usage and production will be mid-to average.

Bigger question, can he help Drew Allar or Christian Veilleux if they get a chance to make a splash? He helped Bailey Zappe make a big one after transferring, in theory he should do just fine as long as the passing game gets opened up.

2022 will be a disappoint if...

(AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

The only disappointment that could occur here is if Tinsley isn’t used the way he should be. He is a very talented receiver, plays big despite his size, and has proven that he can handle a big workload. There is zero reason to believe he won’t be used but if he isn’t, this offense needs an overhaul.

The entire Big Ten is transitioning from being run first to pass first to keep up with Ohio State. Running the ball more than 40% of the time is just not feasible. My hope is that James Franklin sees this year what a fun passing game could be with the combo of Tinsley and Washington and makes that the trend going forward.

Realistic outlook for 2022

(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

The picture above I think is what should be realistic expectations for Mitchell Tinsley this year. This kid is a fun and talented receiver with a fire in him that every coach wants in all of his players. Sean Clifford has one job this year with Tinsley, get him the ball. He has him and Washington, what more of a reason do you need to be able to get the pass game going?

I don’t see him eclipsing or even approaching his numbers from last season but could he put up 800 yards and double digit touchdowns? I think he can. Clifford just needs to have the leash taken off so he can just play and be the quarterback this team needs and deserves.

Penn State Top 25 Players in 2022

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