5 Penn State Offensive Players with the Most to Gain During Training Camp - NittanyCentral

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NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

The latest news, insight, and analysis of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, and Penn State Basketball, including schedules, game results, analysis of breaking news, rumors, speculation, and recruiting coverage of future Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home to the latest Penn State Nittany Lions news, updates, insight, and analysis, including in-depth coverage of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball, and much more

5 Penn State Offensive Players with the Most to Gain During Training Camp

Penn State Football is just weeks away from opening fall camp, with all eyes set on a pivotal Week 1 matchup against WVU in Morgantown on August 31. After bumps and bruises held a few players out of spring practice and will hold others out into the fall.

While the injuries are unfortunate for the players involved, they offer an opportunity for other players on the roster to seperate themselves and nail down key roles for the upcoming season.

Here’s a look at five of Penn State‘s offensive players with the most to gain during Fall Camp.

1. Center Cooper Cousins

Penn State Football, Cooper Cousins
Penn State offensive linemen Nolan Rucci (72) and Cooper Cousins (50) talk before a play during the Blue-White game at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, April 13, 2024, in State College. The White team defeated the Blue team, 27-0.

It is not often that a true freshman can earn a starting position on a Big Ten offensive line, but Cooper Cousins is no ordinary freshman.

Cousins arrived at campus after the high school All-American game in January and has been turning heads since.

Penn State offensive line coach Phil Trautwein even went so far as to say that Cousins is the most college-ready offensive lineman that he’s ever seen in his coaching career. Cousins will push for both playing time and the starting position this fall with fifth year senior Nick Dawkins and redshirt sophomore Vega Ioane. With a strong camp, he could be a rarity to start at center in the Big Ten his freshman season.

Running back Quinton Martin

Penn State Football, Quinton Martin
Penn State Nittany Lions running back Quinton Martin Jr (Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports)

Without disaster for Penn State, neither Quinton Martin or Corey Smith will play a huge role on Penn State’s offense in 2024, with junior running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen expected to once again carry the load in the Penn State backfield this season.

However, with both Singleton and Allen carrying junior status and becoming eligible for the 2025 NFL draft after the season, both Smith and Martin have a huge opportunity to establish themselves ahead of what could be a position battle in the spring to be next year’s starting running back.

Martin dealt with bumps and bruises throughout the beginning of spring practice after arriving to campus in January but then flashed in the blue and white game to end spring practices in April with two touchdowns.

A strong fall camp could earn Martin playing time this fall in relief of Singleton and Allen and earn him a leg up on Smith and Penn State’s 2025 running back commits in the competition for Penn State’s starting running back position heading into 2025.

Offensive tackle Jven Williams

Williams is one of the players that benefited from Penn State’s injuries this spring the most.

With Drew Shelton sidelined after an offseason surgery, Williams made the most of his extra reps honing his craft at left tackle to close the gap with Shelton. Now with Shelton expected to be greenlit for fall camp, Williams will have the opportunity to compete for the starting left tackle position, something he may not have been able to compete for if not for the extra reps this spring.

As a former five-star prospect, Williams has a massive upside for Penn State and could win the starting position or earn playing time this fall at left tackle with a strong fall camp.

4. Wide receiver Omari Evans

Penn State Football
Penn State Nittany Lions Tight End Khalil Dinkins (16) is congratulated by Penn State Nittany Lions Wide Receiver Omari Evans (18) for scoring a touchdown during the second half of the College Football game between the Ohio Bobcats and Penn State Nittany Lions on September 10, 2022, at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

After a strong set of spring practices in 2023, wide receiver Omari Evans disappeared for much of the fall for whatever reason. After Mike Yurcich was let go as Penn State’s offensive coordinator, Omari Evans flashed his potential in Penn State’s final two regular season games, catching two long passes for 25 yards and 60 yards.

With offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki now running Penn State’s offense, Evans once again has the opportunity to prove he belongs on the field for the Nittany Lions in fall camp.

Penn State is undergoing an upheaval at wide receiver after KeAndre Lambert-Smith departed the room for Auburn and is in desperate need of playmakers to develop ahead of the season. If Evans can show the flashes that Penn State fans saw last spring and in the final two regular season games last fall were not flukes, Evans has the opportunity to earn real playing time and targets this season.

Quarterback Ethan Grunkemeyer

True freshman quarterback Ethan Grunkemeyer was supposed to be an afterthought at quarterback for Penn State this season with Drew Allar entering his second season as Penn State’s starting quarterback and returning backup Beau Pribula and third string quarterback Jaxon Smolik.

However, circumstances changed in a hurry this offseason with Smolik sustaining a long-term injury.

Pribula also struggled throwing the ball during Penn State’s blue and white game, opening an opportunity for the true freshman from Ohio.

Although Grunkemeyer didn’t fare much better in Penn State’s spring game, offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki complimented Grunkemeyer’s understanding of Penn State’s offense as “fantastic,” noting that his “want to improve and be a dude is right where we want it to be.”  While Grunkemeyer’s fall camp will not likely earn him more playing time this fall, his development is vitally important for his position relative to Beau Pribula and Jaxon Smolik heading into 2025 when Penn State could be searching for a new starting quarterback if Drew Allar opts to enter the 2025 NFL draft after the season.

Penn State Football will learn plenty about its roster in fall camp ahead of its August 31 date with West Virginia.

There will be plenty of competition to fill out Penn State’s starting roster and to earn playing time this fall. With any luck, Penn State can also expect fall camp to give a glimpse into 2025 and beyond for the Nittany Lions as much of the projected impact players will be draft-eligible after the season.

MORE: Has College Football Playoff Committee Already Dashed Penn State’s Chances of a Home Game? 

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