Ranking Penn State Football Transfers' Chances of Making Immediate Impact

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Ranking Penn State Football Transfers’ Chances of Making Immediate Impact in 2024 College Football Season

After finishing the 2023 season with a second consecutive season with double-digit wins, Penn State Football lost 10 players to the NFL (eight via the NFL draft and two undrafted free agents).

Penn State Football, James Franklin, Penn State Football Recruiting
Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

To bolster the roster, the Nittany Lions searched the transfer portal at positions of need and brought in six transfers to help the Nittany Lions compete in 2024.

However, the impact that these transfer players will have on the 2024 Nittany Lions season remains to be seen. Here is a ranking of the changes each transfer will have on making the biggest impact for the Nittany Lions in 2024:

Penn State Football’s Transfers Most Likely to Make Immediate Impact

1. WR Julian Fleming

Julian Fleming’s commitment to the Nittany Lions completed a full circle for James Franklin and company after his in-state recruitment led to four years playing with the rival Buckeyes.

Now back in State College, and making his presence known on and off the field, Fleming has an opportunity to help turn around Penn State’s wide receiver room.

After being criticized for almost all of the 2023 season for inconsistent play, the Nittany Lions will need wide receivers to step up to make the most of quarterback Drew Allar’s second (and potentially final) year as Penn State’s starter.

Because of how wide open the depth chart is after starting wide receivers KeAndre Lambert-Smith and Dante Cephas transferred this offseason, there is plenty of opportunity for Fleming to step right in and become one of Penn State’s leading receivers.


2. Penn State CB A.J. Harris

For the complete opposite reason than the wide receiver room, the Penn State cornerback room is also wide-open heading into 2024.

All three of Penn State’s starters at cornerback are now competing on NFL rosters, leaving the Nittany Lions to replace three key pieces of one of the top defenses in college football. A.J. Harris has the pedigree to be a top-impact cornerback for the Nittany Lions for 2024 and beyond.

Although Jalen Kimber is more experienced at the position, I feel that Harris has a higher ceiling for impact for the Nittany Lions.


3. CB Jalen Kimber

Penn State Football
Florida Gators cornerback Jalen Kimber (Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports)

As stated above, Penn State is seeking more than one starter at cornerback heading into 2024, meaning that both Harris and Kimber could reasonably see plenty of playing time for the Nittany Lions this season.

Kimber’s 29 games of experience in the SEC could help him make an early impact in the cornerback room while other younger players are getting up to speed in Tom Allen’s defense.

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4. OL Nolan Rucci

Nolan Rucci, Penn State Football
Penn State offensive lineman Nolan Rucci (72) lines up at right tackle 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.

Offensive tackle Nolan Rucci is another transfer that helps Penn State complete a full circle for Franklin.

Rucci was once seen as a Nittany Lions’ lock before COVID shut down the world and he ended up following his brother to Wisconsin.

Although Rucci saw limited playing time in his three seasons with the Badgers, Rucci’s Big Ten experience could help him earn playing time at Penn State. Injuries along Penn State’s offensive line helped Rucci get an extended look during spring ball, but it remains to be seen whether that will be enough for Rucci to earn a starting spot this fall.


5. Chase Meyer

After seeing transfer kicker Alex Felkins solve a major hole after Sander Sahaydak’s struggles in week one, Penn State hopes to strike gold again with transfer kicker Chase Meyer. Meyer faces a battle with Sahaydak and Ryan Barker for the starting job this fall.


Jordan Mayer

Penn State Football
Penn State defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton (33) sacks Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy in the first half of an NCAA football game at Beaver Stadium Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in State College, Pa.

Jordan Mayer was Penn State’s second transfer from Wisconsin, as a walk-on defensive end. With Penn State’s defensive end room pretty loaded in 2024 with Dani Dennis-Sutton, Abdul Carter, and Zuriah Fisher, and company, Mayer likely won’t see much time outside of blowouts.

Honorable Mention: Audavion Collins

In 2023, Penn State Football brought in seven transfer players. Some (like Trey Potts) had an impact for the Nittany Lions in 2023.

Others like Alonzo Ford (injury) and Audavion Collins (depth) did not factor in much for the Nittany Lions last season. However, after taking the backseat behind three players now off to the NFL, cornerback Audavion Collins will have the opportunity to play a role for the Nittany Lions in 2024 and is creating a buzz in the battle for the starting cornerback slots.

If Penn State wants to be able to meet lofty expectations in 2024 and reach their first college football playoff bid, the Nittany Lions will need at least a few of these transfers to play a major role for the Nittany Lions in 2024.

MORE: Drew Allar, Penn State QB Room Drawing Major National Respect

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