As usual, Penn State Football will square off against some of the best teams in college football this season.
The Nittany Lions play in arguably one of the toughest divisions, in one of the toughest conferences, in all of college football, with the Eastern Division of the Big Ten.
Michigan and Ohio State highlight the division, with talent in abundance all over the Big Ten.
With that, Penn State is going to face some high-caliber, Postseason Award Winners and future NFL players. Here’s a look at 10 of the most talented opposing players the Nittany Lions will have to go up against in 2023:
No. 1: Marvin Harrison Jr, OSU WR
Marvin Harrison Jr should be an incredible NFL receiver. Just ask his father.
Harrison Jr became the top wide receiver in college football last year. His ability to make ridiculous catches at absurd angles while contorting his body is truly special to watch. He has quick twitch speed, uber athleticism, and a keen sense of where the defenders are to get open.
Harrison lit up the PSU defense for 10 catches and 185 yards last season. That was with Joey Porter Jr. chasing him around for most of the game.
If Penn State wants to pull off a marquee upset on the road this year, they need to contain Marvin Harrison somehow. They can’t expect to fully shut down such a talented player, but limiting his overall damage and keeping him away from running free downfield gives Penn State hope.
No. 2: J.J. McCarthy, Michigan QB
J.J. McCarthy is going to be one of the premier household names in college football in 2023.
McCarthy is tasked with leading the Michigan Wolverines to their third straight CFP appearance. He is also going to need to take on a bigger leadership role immediately to start the season with Coach Jim Harbaugh’s absence amidst his looming suspension.
McCarthy is a dual threat who has already proven himself capable to lead an offense and light up the scoreboard.
Michigan blew out Penn State 41-17 last season. Michigan-Penn State on November 11th will be one of Penn State’s toughest matchups this season.
No. 3: Blake Corum, Michigan RB
Blake Corum is the ideal modern day running back.
Corum has the perfect blend of speed, size, and contact balance to thrive at the RB position. Corum also has the human traits every coach seeks with his leadership and humble attitude.
Corum was part of a 1-2 punch with Donovan Edwards last year. He proved unstoppable vs Penn State with 166 yards and 2 TDs in their victory vs Penn State in 2022. Corum is coming off injury and will have to prove himself healthy. When he does, expect him to pick up right where he left off last season.
No. 4 & No. 5: Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson, OSU RB
Miyan Williams is another Big Ten stud residing in PSU’s division.
Williams carried the load last year after Treveyon Henderson’s injury absence. Miyan broke out with 825 yards and 14 TDs with a strong 6.0 yards per clip. Williams is a tough, compact runner who fights for extra yards and always falls forwards.
Henderson was OSU’s premier weapon running the ball in 2021. Injuries hampered Henderson in his second season but his freshman season was truly special with 1,560 scrimmage yards and 19 total TDs.
Henderson didn’t do much last year but he did make his presence known against PSU. Ohio State beat Penn State 44-31 last year, largely on the heels of Treveyon Henderson. His 2 TDs powered OSU to victory and Penn State needs to flip the script this year to ensure they can win at the Shoe.
No. 6: Emeka Egbuka, OSU WR
Emeka Egbuka may not be Marvin Harrison Jr., but he’s still as good as it gets as a college football wideout.
Egbuka is one of many in the OSU WR room’s pipeline of studs. He can win in the slot and on the outside with his savvy route-running, speed and one cut ability.
Egbuka had 1,238 scrimmage yards and 12 total TDs in 2022. With so much attention being paid to Harrison Jr., look for Egbuka to again dominate teams with easier matchups. If he gets 1 on 1 matchups vs 2nd cornerbacks, he should feast in opposing teams’ secondaries.
No. 7: Tommy Eichenberg, OSU LB
Tommy Eichenberg may be one of the top LBs in college football this season.
A bit of a classic throwback thumper, Eichenberg can line up all over the heart of the defense and fill in the run game who can equally chase and cover well.
An incoming senior, Eichenberg already has 186 tackles, 18.5 TFLs, 2 INTs, 1 TD, 5 PDs, and a forced fumble under his belt. Eichenberg had 10 tackles vs PSU last year, look for PSU to scheme their blocking strategy in Eichenberg’s direction.
No. 8: Cooper DeJean, Iowa CB
Cooper DeJean will be one of the top CBs in the Big Ten in 2023.
The 2022 1st Team All-Big Ten Cornerback leads a tough Iowa defense. DeJean is the ultimate playmaker who has proven to show his worth who can impact games by himself single handedly.
DeJean had 5 interceptions last year which is impressive enough. He returned three for touchdowns, showing his grit and will to compete.
No. 9 Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois DL
Jer’Zhan Newton is a premier defensive tackle. He is a massive force in the middle of the Illinois D-Line and can eat up 2 blockers at one time.
Newton was a 2022 1st Team All-Big Ten winner last year and could even play a bigger role in 2023.
Newton has the size, speed, and footwork combination coaches desire from their interior defensive linemen. He proved his worth with 14 TFLs, 5.5 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries during his breakout 2022 campaign.
No. 10: Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland QB
Taulia Tagovailoa is looking to just keep building and keep getting better. That has been his approach to college football from the very start.
Tagovailoa’s foundation is his poise, calm demeanor under pressure. It’s a trait he shares with brother, Tua, who is the quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. Taulia is looking to be the next Tagovailoa NFL QB player.
Taulia has improved each season of college and finally earned recognition last year with 2nd Team-All Big Ten awards. Taulia can make the short and intermediate plays and he has a cannon for an arm.
Taulia was shut down by PSU for under 100 yards last year. Look for him to change that in 2023.