Penn State Football’s roster already looks drastically different than it did a few months ago, with players signing up for the NFL draft, players entering the transfer portal, and some new faces on the schedule too.
In the modern era of college football, it can be difficult for fans to keep an eye on all the players who leave their team’s roster, as well as those who join. It was such a low season for Penn State Football.
247 Sports provided a current roster breakdown as it stands as of mid-January, but this will be a roster tracker that will be updated with any move made regarding the Nittany Lions roster this off-season.
Penn State Football players who declared for the NFL draw:
- Jahan Dotson (WR)
- Rasheed Walker (OT)
- Arnold Ebiketie (DE)
- Jesse Luketa (DE/LB)
- Derrick Tangelo (DT)
- Brandon Smith (LB)
- Ellis Brooks (LB)
- Jaquan Brisker (S)
- Tariq Castro Fields (CB)
- Jordan Stout (K/P)
There aren’t really any big surprises with this list.
Guys like Dotson, Ebiketie and Brisker are near locks to be lined up within the first 3 rounds of the draft.
Going into the 2021 season, Rasheed Walker was expected to be one of the first offensive tackles drafted this spring, but a disappointing season has seen his draft stock plummet, though he will still be taken by the mid-to-late rounds of the design, mainly because of its advantage.
Tariq Castro-Fields and Derrick Tangelo are both ineligible for NCAA and will both definitely hear their names at some point in the draft.
Castro-Fields quietly had a stellar career as a cornerback, while Tangelo came through the season strong in his first and only year as a Nittany Lion after moving from Duke last year.
Brandon Smith certainly could have benefited from another year of college football, but he’s a great athlete, with all the measurable values and a ton of advantage. So despite a lack of production this season, an NFL team will take a shot at him in hopes of developing him into a prolific defender on Sunday, similar to what happened to Odafe Oweh last year.
Jesse Luketa could also have improved his draft stock with another year as a full-time edge rusher, but his athleticism and versatility will appeal to NFL scouts, and he will certainly have a chance to prove himself at the highest level.
Kickers and punters are rarely drafted, so Jordan Stout may be the only one on this list not to hear his name called out during the draft. However, the Ray Guy Award finalist can be a great asset to an NFL team as a gambler and perhaps a kick-off specialist, so he will be snatched as an unwritten free agent very quickly once the draft is complete.
The NFL drawing is scheduled for April 28-30, with the first round on Day 1, Round 2 and 3 on Day 2, and the final four rounds on Day 3.
Penn State Football players in the transfer portal:
- Ta’Quan Roberson (QB) – UConn
- Noah Cain (RB) – LSU
- Tyler Rudolph (S) – UMass
- Enzo Jennings (S)
- Des Holmes (OL)
- Norval Black (WR)
- Joseph Appiah Darkwa (DL)
- Justin Weller* (WR)
- Caleb Konigus * (OL)
- Will Knuttson* (OL)
Designation of an unlisted player – *
There haven’t been many surprises so far regarding the departure from the transfer portals, with the biggest name being Noah Cain moving to Baton Rouge to conclude his career as an LSU Tiger.
Ta’Quan Roberson came as no surprise as he was unproductive when he got his chance this season, and with the return of Sean Clifford and the arrival of two very talented freshmen, it was best for both sides to move on. He will continue his career at UConn which is a great opportunity for him to showcase his abilities and achieve success at a lower level in Division I football.
None of the other players in the transfer portal played a major (if any) role on the pitch for the Nittany Lions, so their departures won’t greatly affect what we’ll see on the pitch on Saturday.
Penn State Football additions through the transfer portal:
It’s surprising (and possibly a little worrisome) that Penn State Football currently has only one addition made through the transfer portal, although it’s a good one.
Mitchell Tinsley was a second-team squad for all conferences at wide receiver in Conference USA, and he was a prolific #2 target for a powerful strike in Western Kentucky averaging 44.2 points per game (2nd National ).
Tinsley has had 87 catches for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Hilltoppers this season. At 205 pounds, he will be a big compliment to Parker Washington at wide receiver in 2022, Tinsley’s last eligibility year.
Penn State Football fans would like to see more additions through the transfer portal, especially along the offensive line and at linebacker.
At this point, it’s unlikely they’ll be adding many more pieces through the portal, although that could change after spring training, when players across the country may begin to see where they fit into their current squad’s roster and decide to to look for greener pastures.
Penn State Football Class of 2022 Early Entrants:
After a season where the attacking side of the ball was the main issue, it’s good to see many of the early enlisted players being attacking players.
Drew Allar and Beau Pribula can begin their development under Mike Yurcich, and running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen can begin to prove they deserve a chance to produce right away in a deep backroom.
Wide receivers Kaden Saunders and Omari Evans could get a head start on their collegiate development as the Nittany Lions appear to have a deeper wide receiver space than the top heavy they had in 2021.
JB Nelson is coming from the Lackawanna Community College pipeline and can also jump start trying to make a positive impact on an offensive line group that will have all eyes on them.
Many members of the 2022 recruiting class will seek to make an immediate impact, including many of these early enrollees.
The next Nittany Lions are no longer on the roster, but have not yet announced whether they plan to continue their football career elsewhere.
- Cam Sullivan Brown (WR)
- Daniel George (WR)
- Mike Miranda (OL)
- Anthony Whigan (OL)
- Fred Hansard (DT)
- A. J. Lytton (DB)
- Drew Hartlaub (DB)
- Rafael Checca (K)
All of these players are still NCAA eligible, but it’s not clear yet if they’ll choose to use it elsewhere, or possibly try to play professionally in some capacity.
Cam Sullivan-Brown and Daniel George were seasoned receivers who never seemed to get it all together to find themselves consistently on the field.
After a decent 2020 season as a guard, Mike Miranda’s production went downhill when he moved to the center in 2021.
Anthony Whigan got the chance to start at guard week 1 in Wisconsin, but it quickly became apparent that he wasn’t ready for Big 10 football, and we didn’t see him much for the rest of the season.
AJ Lytton and Drew Hartlaub made significant contributions to special teams but didn’t see much action defensively.
After serving as the kickoff specialist in 2018 as a true freshman, Rafael Checca saw no action until he became the holder for the 2021 season.
Defensive tackle Aenaes Hawkins still has the option of college eligibility but has already announced that he is hanging up his cleats and withdrawing from the game.
Finally, starting left guard Eric Wilson is no longer on the roster either, as he is no longer eligible. He has not yet made it clear whether he will play football professionally, or whether he will hang it.