Penn State Football

Who will be Penn State’s 2019 breakout star? Players share their picks

Which Nittany Lion will breakout this season?

Penn State football players share which teammate they think will breakout in the 2019 season.
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Penn State football players share which teammate they think will breakout in the 2019 season.

Every season, at least one Penn State player steps up to become a breakout star — such as DE Yetur Gross-Matos last year — so, with the season opener just weeks away, that begs the question: Who will break out in 2019?

To find out, we decided to go straight to the source and ask Penn State’s players. So, during media day last week, we polled one coordinator and 11 players to find their breakout picks. There was only one catch: You can’t pick yourself.

You’ll notice some definite trends and favorites this preseason. Here’s what everyone said:

LB Jan Johnson says DE Jayson Oweh

Oweh’s 2018 stats: 4 games played (redshirted), 2 sacks, 1 QB hurry

The quote: “Coming off his redshirt year, just a freak athlete in the weight room. Freakishly athletic. He’s more comfortable with the defense. I think he’s going to have a great year.”

CB John Reid says DE Shaka Toney

Toney’s 2018 stats: 23 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 3 QB hurries

The quote: ”I would say Shaka Toney. He’s made a ton of plays already. Everybody has already seen him make a ton of plays like the Indiana game. I think now you’ll see a lot more of him with a lot more snaps. I think he’ll be able to produce even more than he already has, so I’m really excited for that.”

DT Robert Windsor says DE Jayson Oweh

Oweh’s 2018 stats: 4 games played (redshirted), 2 sacks, 1 QB hurry

The quote: “I’d pick Jayson Oweh because people don’t know about him yet. He has freakish ability. You’ll see first game.”

CB Tariq Castro-Fields says S Lamont Wade

Wade’s 2018 stats: 18 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack

The quote: “I’m (going to) go with Lamont Wade. He used to play corner with me and he was a guy that — I think me and him really leaned on each other throughout our freshman year since we played early. So I think he’s a guy who’s gonna show the world what he can do, and he’s a real hungry guy. I can’t wait to see him ball out.”

TE Pat Freiermuth says WR Justin Shorter

Shorter’s 2018 stats: 4 games played (redshirted), 3 catches, 20 yards

The quote: “He’s working his butt off. I’ve worked with him all summer, all winter and all offseason. He’s worked really hard. He’s got his weight down; he got a little heavy there for a little bit. But he’s looking really good. His breaks are looking really good, his routes are fresh and clean, he’s ready for a really big season.”

QB Michael Shuster says WR Jahan Dotson

Dotson’s 2018 stats: 13 catches, 203 yards

The quote: “I think a guy you’re going to see a lot of this year — and you saw a little bit of him last year — is Jahan Dotson. He’s a guy that kind of came in toward the end of last year and showed what he can do. And I feel like now that he’s had a year on the team, he really has a chance to take off and blow up.”

DC Brent Pry says DT PJ Mustipher

Mustipher’s 2018 stats: 14 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hurry, 1 forced fumble

The quote: “I think a guy that has had an incredible summer, maybe the best in the defensive unit, is P.J. Mustipher. A guy that has a lot of talent and a lot of size. He’s really made the turn with his work effort and approach.”

LB Charlie Katshir says DE Jayson Oweh

Oweh’s 2018 stats: 4 games played (redshirted), 2 sacks, 1 QB hurry

The quote: “He’s just a freak athlete and has a lot of potential. This is going to be a big season for him.”

DT Judge Culpepper says DE Jayson Oweh

Oweh’s 2018 stats: 4 games played (redshirted), 2 sacks, 1 QB hurry

The quote: “The guy’s just a freak athlete. He’s ridiculously fast and damn good. So we’ll be watching for him for sure.”

WR Cam Sullivan-Brown says RB Journey Brown

Brown’s 2018 stats: 8 carries, 44 yards, 1 TD

The quote: “Let’s go with Journey Brown. I feel like he’s gonna get the ball a lot this year; he’s gonna have the ball in his hands. Once he gets the ball in his hands, he can make plays. I see it in practice. I’m a little biased because that’s my friend, but I’m sure y’all gonna see it.”

LB Max Chizmar says DE Jayson Oweh

Oweh’s 2018 stats: 4 games played (redshirted), 2 sacks, 1 QB hurry

The quote: “The dude’s a freak of an athlete.”

RB Journey Brown says QB Sean Clifford, S Jonathan Sutherland, S Drew Hartlaub

2018 stats: (Clifford) 5-of-7 passing, 195 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs; (Sutherland) 38 tackles, 2 tackles for loss; (Hartlaub) 3 tackles

The quote: “From my personal opinion, it’ll be Sean Clifford, Jonathan Sutherland and then Drew Hartlaub. For all three of them, I’ve been around these guys. I live with Drew and Sutherland, so I see them at the table at night working on their plays, going over their plays, just preparing, watching film.

“But for Sean ... he asked me about how to keep his hips low and running back stuff. I see the fire in his eyes and the sparkle that he wants it. I feel like he’s gonna show everybody that he is prepared and, if that becomes his role — to be QB No. 1 — that will be his role. I’ve seen him prepare, so I know he’s gonna be ready for those moments.

“With Jonathan Sutherland ... dude lives and breathes football. Ain’t nothing shallow about it. He’s always ready. Great athlete.

“And even with Drew Hartlaub, he’s a more special-teams guy. I feel like he’s gonna really show people on special teams what he can do. I feel like he doesn’t get enough hype. He’s a role player. I feel like he’s gonna be a great, great asset to our team because (of) how serious we take special teams. He’s one of those guys that loves special teams and he’s ready to do whatever Coach asks him to. And I feel like that’s overlooked a lot.”

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