Penn State continues to build depth in key areas as the program recovers from heavy NCAA sanctions that were imposed in 2012 and lifted completely earlier this fall. The offensive line is facing its challenges now, and the same could be said about a young group of receivers that includes talented freshmen Saeed Blacknall, Chris Godwin, DaeSean Hamilton and DeAndre Thompkins.
The Nittany Lions’ quarterback depth chart is less ominous now, but it lacks depth and experience behind sophomore starter Christian Hackenberg. Trace McSorley has won the primary backup job for now, but Michael O’Connor remains in the picture in 2015 and beyond. Both are redshirting their true freshman seasons barring an emergency.
Penn State got a boost to its future competition and depth when three-star dual-threat quarterback Tommy Stevens gave a verbal commitment to the program. The former Indiana commit is in line to become the fourth scholarship option on the depth chart and fills the spot that was vacated when Brandon Wimbush de-committed.
Coach James Franklin was faced with a daunting task late in the 2015 recruiting cycle with most of the nation’s top quarterback prospects already committed to other schools. He had an existing relationship with Stevens, got him to campus for the Ohio State game and secured a commitment after a road win over Indiana.
Where does Stevens fit into the big picture of Franklin’s long-term recruiting plans? Was he a necessary addition to the depth chart now, as opposed to trying to land two talented quarterbacks in the 2016 class? Ross Tucker, Andrew P. Shay and Dustin Hockensmith attempt to answer those questions and more in this week’s Keystone Sports Network podcast.