Blue White Illustrated

January 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 28 of 67

J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 2 2 9 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M W ith plenty of experienced per- sonnel returning at the skill positions and along the line, there weren't a lot of opportunities for freshman-eligible players to make a big impact on Penn State's offense during the 2021 regular season. But a handful of newcomers still managed to make an impression on the offensive side of the ball. Here's a look at some breakout performers who, while limited to supporting roles this past fall, set the stage for big things in the years to come: MALICK MEIGA | WR We're admittedly stretching the defi- nition of "breakout" here. Of the 78 re- ceiving yards that the redshirt freshman wideout amassed during his first season of college action, the vast majority came not just in a single game but on a single play. In the third quarter of Penn State's home finale against Rutgers, Meiga went unnoticed by the Scarlet Knights' defense on a deep slant. With no defen- sive back to contest the catch, he gath- ered in freshman quarterback Christian Veilleux's pass at midfield and sprinted to the end zone for a 67-yard score. By the time he crossed the goal line, there was no one from either team within 20 yards of him. At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, Meiga has always had the look of a game-chang- ing receiver. But coming from Cegep du Vieux High in Saint Jerome, Quebec, he needed time to adjust to American foot- ball. He didn't see any game action as a true freshman in 2020 and was slowed by an undisclosed injury early this fall. But he finally got on the field in Week 7 against Illinois, and he made his first career catch, a three-yarder, at Mary- land two weeks later. Meiga ended up seeing action in the Lions' last six regu- lar-season games, and while he caught just three passes, he flashed enough po- tential to earn a spot on this list. Meiga rooms with classmate and fel- M AT T H E R B | M AT T @ B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M On The Rise A handful of freshman offensive performers flashed the potential to take on bigger roles for the Nittany Lions in the coming years Receiver Malick Meiga is seen as a potential deep threat by James Franklin. Against Rutgers, he made the first big play of his career, a 67-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. PHOTO BY STEVE MANUEL

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