Blue White Illustrated

September 2021

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 43 of 75

4 4 S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 1 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M BY GREG PICKEL | GPIC92@GMAIL.COM P enn State signed a top-15 class two years ago, and while most of the Class of 2020 is still finding its footing in State College, a few of its members have already made an impact. The Nittany Lions signed a total of 27 players in that cycle; 24 still remain, while three left the program after just one season. Here's what the group has accom- plished to date: Norval Black, WR One of two Lackawanna College signees in this class, Black hasn't seen any game action yet but is one of many receivers who could earn rotational reps this fall. Micah Bowens, QB Bowens was always expected to red- shirt during his first season, but he un- expectedly left the Nittany Lions during the offseason and transferred to Okla- homa. Cole Brevard, DT Brevard will look for his first game ac- tion this fall, but he was a key member of the scout team, earning the unit's Defensive Player of the Week award following the Michigan State game last December. Ji'Ayir Brown, S The other former Lackawanna player, Brown is fighting for a starting job after turning in six tackles and a pass breakup while seeing time in all nine 2020 con- tests. Jimmy Christ, OT Named the development squad's Player of the Week after the Nebraska game in November, Christ probably has another year of growing ahead of him before cracking the offensive line rota- tion. Nick Dawkins, OG Dawkins' time is coming, but he didn't see a snap in 2020 and might not see one this fall, either. But he made steady prog- ress as a three-time choice as the devel- opmental squad's Player of the Week. Jaden Dottin, WR Dottin got a taste of what Big Ten foot- ball is like, but he didn't record a catch against Illinois in his only appearance as a freshman. Tyler Elsdon, LB Elsdon received praise from the coach- ing staff for his work on both the defense and special teams developmental squads last year, and his efforts led to an appear- ance in the season finale. He could earn backup middle linebacker reps in 2021. Olumuyiwa (Olu) Fashanu, OT Fashanu, like many big men, did not see any game action in year one, but he did stand out in practice ahead of the Ohio State game. He's still at least a year away from fighting for a starting spot. Zuriah Fisher, DE When he came to Penn State, it was uncertain whether Fisher would end up at linebacker or defensive end. But he now checks in at 6-3, 262 pounds, and that decision has been made: He's a de- fensive end. Fisher made an appearance against Illinois last fall and should now be a part of the defensive line rotation for John Scott Jr. Caziah Holmes, RB Unfortunate injury news for team- mates equated to something of a prime- time role for Holmes last year. He carried 51 times for 227 yards and two scores in addition to six receptions for 37 yards. The Florida native will be part of the running back rotation this fall. Golden Israel-Achumba, OG Israel-Achumba worked to refine his body and game during a redshirt season, and he will continue to progress in that capacity this fall. Parker Washington finished with 36 catches for 486 yards and six touchdowns in 2020 and was named a freshman All- American by The Athletic. PHOTO BY MARK SELDERS/PENN STATE ATHLETICS EARLY RISERS True freshmen play key roles in 2020 season Class of 2020 REVIEW

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