Blue White Illustrated

September 2021

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 38 of 75

S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 1 3 9 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M K.J. Hamler, WR The "Human Joystick" was an elec- tric member of Penn State's offense before leaving school after two sea- sons. Following a redshirt year, Hamler was named an FWAA freshman All- American as a returner and an All-Big Ten pick on special teams and offense in 2019. He's one of 33 Lions all-time to reach the 1,000-yard receiving mark for his career, finishing with 1,658, and he also caught 13 career touch- down passes while averaging 39.8 yards on kick returns. Hamler was a second-round pick of the Den- ver Broncos in 2020. Fred Hansard, DT Hansard is expected to step into a key reserve role in 2021 during his fifth season in blue and white after making six tackles (one for loss) in eight contests a year ago. He has fought some health issues that slowed his progress but has 23 career tackles (six for loss) and a sack thus far. Mac Hippenhammer, WR A two-sport athlete who suited up on the gridiron and diamond in Happy Valley, Hippenhammer made only seven catches for 118 yards and a touchdown (against Pittsburgh in 2018) over two sea- sons while also playing baseball in the spring. He then transferred to Miami of Ohio, where he has continued to play both sports. Hippenhammer is on the RedHawks' 2021 football roster. Des Holmes, OT Holmes could crack the starting lineup for the first time in 2021 after playing in 22 games during his first four seasons on campus. He has played inside and out but projects as a pos- sible first-team guard this fall. Donovan Johnson, CB Injuries derailed Johnson's career. He redshirted in 2017 and made 12 stops with three passes defended in 2018 be- fore another health issue cut his 2019 season short after two games. He was to miss the 2020 season and elected to step away from the game. Robert Martin, OG Martin redshirted as a freshman and then announced an end to his playing days following spring practice in 2018. Mike Miranda, OG A second-team All-Big Ten pick at guard in 2020, Miranda will slide into the starting center spot for his fifth college season with the Nittany Lions. He was named to the 2021 Outland Trophy preseason watch list. Cam Sullivan-Brown, WR Sullivan-Brown has faced injury challenges during the past four years but enters the 2021 season with hopes for more production. He has 13 career catches for 119 yards in 25 games and has made one start. Jonathan Sutherland, S The first Nittany Lion to wear No. 0, Sutherland is a special teams ace who has also seen time at safety. He's one of only two college players ever to block two punts in one game (against Idaho in 2018) and will vie for a starting spot in the secondary this coming fall. C.J. Thorpe, OG Thorpe played mostly right guard, where he made eight starts in four seasons, and he also saw time at defensive tackle in 2018. He played in six games last sea- son, making three starts, but then disappeared from the lineup and transferred. As of this writ- ing, Thorpe had not found a new home. Lamont Wade, CB One of six Penn State players to return a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown (against Illinois in 2020), Wade spent most of his career in the secondary, where he played both cornerback and safety. The Pittsburgh native started 22 of 47 contests and made 153 tackles (6.5 for loss) with three sacks, an intercep- tion, four forced fumbles and three recoveries. He signed with his hometown Steelers as an un- drafted free agent. ■ Mike Miranda earned second-team All-Big Ten honors at guard last season and is anticipated to take the starting job at center in 2021. PHOTO BY MARK SELDERS/PENN STATE ATHLETICS R E P O R T C A R D : Players In Class: 21 Team Ranking: No. 12 Players Still At Penn State: 8 Only five players from this group can be cited as key, multiyear start- ers, and while injuries wiped away some of the potential, the number of early exits speaks volumes about the evaluation misses in this class, too. Top Contributor To Date WR K.J. HAMLER: It's hard to think of the 2018 and '19 Penn State football teams with- out having a few of Hamler's big plays imme- diately come to mind, both as a receiver and in the return game. Gross-Matos is a close second, while Clifford and Castro-Fields are in the mix, too. Unsung Hero OL MIKE MIRANDA: He's been a reliable member of an ever-improving offensive line and has rarely missed time. Now, he'll slide into the all-important center role. Ready To Make An Impact This Fall DT FRED HANSARD: He's had some splashy moments so far, but the Lions need someone to spell the starters and play like one himself. Hansard can shine in that role. C

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