In recent years, Penn State Football, and head coach James Franklin, have struck gold in the transfer portal.
Whether it’s bolstering the pass-rush with eventual NFL Draft pick Arnold Ebiketie, heralded edge rusher Chop Robinson, or shored up the offensive line by adding Hunter Nourzad, the Nittany Lions have found top talent in the portal.
As the 2023 season nears, one of Penn State‘s latest portal additions; wide receiver Dante Cephas, has been named among the most impactful pickups in the Big Ten by analyst Mike Farrell:
After losing Parker Washington, Brenton Strange and Mitchell Tinsley to the NFL, the Nittany had an obvious receiving hole to fill. On top of that, new quarterback Drew Allar needed additional weapons if his transition as a full-time starter was going to be successful. Cephas answers both of these issues. He did get a later start than many transfers, since he was still at Kent State during the spring graduating, but that will not slow down his development in Happy Valley.
Impact Rating: 8.2
Cephas pulled down 130 receptions for 1,984 yards with 12 touchdowns, over the past two seasons at Kent State.
At 6-foot and 187 pounds, Cephas has the kind of frame that can make him a reliable red-zone target for Allar and the Lions’ offense, but more importantly, the speed to take the top off a defense, as well.
Franklin and Penn State have a clear strategy for dipping into the portal, which Franklin discussed during a recent appearance on Adam Breneman’s Next Up Podcast.
“Yeah, I look at it, you know, a little bit like people used to back in the old days with junior colleges,” Franklin said. “Where, you’d go to the junior college to solve an immediate problem but you didn’t want to build your program that way. We kind of approached the transfer portal the same way.”
Cephas is the second wide receiver in as many offseasons that Franklin and Penn State Football have brought to Happy Valley.
The Lions hope Cephas makes the kind of impact, or surpasses, that of Mitchell Tinsley’s 51 catches for 577 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2022.
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