Blue White Illustrated

December 2023

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 19 of 67

I t didn't seem as though Theo John- son and Tyler Warren had much in common when they arrived at Penn State as part of the Nittany Lions' 2020 recruiting class. As high school players, the two didn't share a position, a star rating or even a country. Johnson was a Canadian expat who had earned a four-star grade from the re- cruiting media and was being hailed as a can't-miss tight end prospect after lead- ing Holy Names High to back-to-back championships in the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations. Warren was a quarterback from Vir- ginia with a three-star rating and a brawny physique that suggested his future as a college football player might be at a different position. He didn't boast John- son's notoriety, and given the rarity of his particular position change, there was no guarantee it was going to work out. This was a could-miss prospect, as coach James Franklin acknowledged recently. Said the coach, "You never truly know until they get here." From those divergent backgrounds, Johnson and Warren came together in State College during the COVID-rid- den 2020 season, joining a tight ends room that boasted a couple of future NFL players in Pat Freiermuth and Brenton Strange. In the years since the two play- ers first teamed up, the differences in their backgrounds have come to seem less relevant with each passing day. Johnson and Warren have developed an almost telepathic on-field rapport, and it's had a major impact on Penn State's offense. "Playing with the same person at any position, you develop a relationship, you develop chemistry," Johnson said. "It's really great to be on the field with someone you're always on the same page with. Communication is one of the big- gest things in football, making sure ev- eryone is on the same page, especially on offense, because if one guy does the wrong thing, the whole play could be in jeopardy." W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M 2 0 D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 3 A Winning A Winning Hand Hand The leaders of Penn State's 'Aces' tight end group — Theo Johnson and Tyler Warren — have shown this season they have a few tricks up their sleeve M AT T H E R B | M AT T. H E R B @ O N 3 . C O M

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