Juwan Johnson has been the talk of spring ball, and everyone is hyping up early enrollee cornerback Lamont Wade — but there are five Nittany Lions who have set themselves apart, according to Penn State head coach James Franklin.
After Wednesday night’s practice, just a few days away from Saturday’s Blue-White Game, Franklin identified backup quarterback Tommy Stevens, cornerback Christian Campbell, tight end Jon Holland, linebacker Koa Farmer and running back/return specialist Josh McPhearson as players of note this spring.
Unprompted at the start of the media scrum, Franklin started with Stevens, who rushed for 198 yards and two touchdowns last year as Trace McSorley’s No. 2.
“I’m very, very pleased with him and the progress he’s made over the years since he got here,” Franklin said of the redshirt sophomore. “He’s playing at a high level, and we have two quarterbacks that we feel really confident in. He’s handled everything extremely well. He’s got the whole team’s respect.”
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The coach also feels confident about Holland as Mike Gesicki’s backup. Holland, a 6-foot-4 redshirt sophomore who hasn’t recorded a catch in his Penn State career, “has factored in” this spring, per Franklin.
The coach also looks at Campbell as a starter after his fully healthy spring, Farmer has “everybody really excited” with his recent form, and McPhearson’s switch from wideout to tailback has helped out in terms of ball security, prepping him for return duties.