A new semester has started at Penn State. A new crop of players has arrived, as well.
The Nittany Lions welcomed five early enrollees on campus as a part of their Class of 2015 Saturday ahead of the spring semester, which begins Monday. Quarterback Tommy Stevens, and tackles Sterling Jenkins and Paris Palmer (a juco transfer), are all scholarship players. They are joined by walk-on defensive end/linebacker Colin Castanga and kicker Tyler Davis. As things stand, the three scholarship players will count against the Class of 2015, which currently stands at three enrolled members and 17 verbal commitments.
What are the Lions getting in their newest members? Check out the breakdown below.
Tale of the tape6-foot-8, 305 pounds
The LowdownLanding a juco tackle helps considering Donovan Smith’s decision to transfer. Palmer, who played junior college ball at Scranton, Pa., Lackawanna, flipped his verbal commitment from South Carolina to Penn State in December, and is expected to bolster the Lions' line in 2015.
Tale of the tape6-8, 305
The LowdownJenkins is a four-star prospect out of Pittsburgh Baldwin, and decided to early enroll to get a head start in the weight room, on the practice field come spring, and in the classroom. The freshman is expected to need at least a year, if not two, to be ready for Big Ten football, but has enormous potential.
Tale of the tape6-4, 200
The LowdownAn Indiana native, Stevens flipped from the Hoosiers to Penn State in early November. The three-star was offered by the Lions after Brandon Wimbush flipped from Penn State to Notre Dame, and as a run/pass threat, is expected to be a quality fit for John Donovan’s offense. With Trace McSorley backing up Christian Hackenberg, he is expected to redshirt in year one.
Tale of the tape6-0, 180
The LowdownNamed a five-star prospect by Chris Sailer kicking, Davis arrives in the midst of a kicking competition to replace graduated booter Sam Ficken. While he could factor from the get-go, it seems a kicker already on campus -- Joey Julius, Troy Stivason or Chris Gulla -- may have a leg up in the competition.
The LowdownCastanga's height and weight was not immediately known, because he took a year off between the end of his high school career and his arrival at Penn State. He recorded 120 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and 16 sacks (according to Sun-Times Media) in his senior season at Barrington, Ill. His experience playing at defensive end and linebacker should be beneficial at Penn State. Lions’ quarterback coach Ricky Rahne, who recruits Illinois, facilitated Castanga’s arrival at Penn State.