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Penn State Football: Handful Of Freshmen Catching Franklin's Eye

by on August 07, 2017 1:53 PM

Lamont Wade isn't the only freshman who could see the field this Fall according to James Franklin. In fact a handful of the newest Nittany Lions could end up making a big impact on the highly anticipated upcoming season.

“Tariq Castro-Fields is probably a guy that there’s as much buzz about as any of the newcomers right now,” Franklin said earlier this week. “I would say Yetur Gross-Matos is the other freshman that there’s excitement about and we’re saying, ‘You know, we’re gonna probably need to find a way for him to have a role for us this year.'”

It's not hard to understand why, even after a brief glimpse of Week 1 practices. Both Castro-Fields and Gross-Matos are physical specimens that will be hard to keep off the field. Gross-Matos in particular at 6-foot-5, 242 pounds stands out on the field at a question mark filled defensive end position.

For Castro-Fields, he will find himself alongside another freshman standout Lamont Wade at the corner position as they look to make up for the loss of John Reid due to a reported season-ending injury. 

Of course early practice hype still has to translate to late August production, and that means moving up the depth chart and staying there for all of the newest faces on the roster.

“Come Sunday, I want to update a depth chart that we can go over as a staff — offense, defense, and special teams,” Franklin said. “And I want that depth chart to reflect if we were playing a game on Saturday, ‘Who would be the guys that are getting reps? What’s the order of it?'”

And don't forget the offensive side of the ball where early enrollee Mike Miranda is doing his best to impact a suddenly deep offensive line unit.

“Miranda’s a guy that’s put the offense in a situation where we’re kinda having some difficult discussions like we did last year with [Connor] McGovern and [Michal] Menet,” Franklin said. “He’s shown that he belongs.”

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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