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Penn State Football: Kuntz Bigger Physically, and Ready for Bigger Role to Match It

by on July 08, 2020 2:45 PM

There is a lot to unpack if you're talking about the situation Penn State sophomore tight end Zack Kuntz finds himself in.

He's from Camp Hill, Pa. which puts him in the regional shadow of former Nittany Lion big-time prospect Adam Brenneman. He's effectively behind Pat Freiermuth -one of the best tight ends in the nation- on Penn State's depth chart. He's followed closely by freshman Theo Johnson and former four-star Brenton Strange. 

The wiggle room is small, the margin for error at practice even smaller as a room not short on talent looks to find a place in the rotation aside their soon-to-be All-American household name.

But that doesn't mean Kuntz doesn't have a place in an offense that hasn't backed down from multiple tight end looks and the departure of frequently used backup Nick Bowers to graduation.

So why not Kuntz, a 6-foot-7 effectively 260 pound target, and a former four-star prospect in his own right, to be matched up with Freiermuth?

“Especially when we were coming out of high school, we did talk about being that dynamic duo, and I think now’s a perfect opportunity to display that," Kuntz said during a video conference call with reporters.

“I think Pat has shown what he can do, and he can do even more, and I think it’s my time to kind of show what I am made of and what I’m capable of.

In many ways Kuntz finds himself in a similar boat as a lot of the Nittany Lions on a young but not unseasoned team. New faces will have to step up on defense, new targets will have to step up on offense. The entire premise of James Franklin's successful recruiting is to avoid rebuilding years in spite of loading in unproven talent.

There will always be bumps in the road, both for the team and for individual players, but the cliched 'next man up' mentality has some truth behind the eye-rolling coach speak.

"I’m happy with where I’m at,” Kuntz added. “I mean, everyone wishes they could do a little better and find some things to improve upon, but from a football perspective, obviously, I wish I could play a little bit more, but other players in my room have shown that they have the ability to perform and do that on a consistent basis.

“It’s my job to improve upon my own game so that I can earn that trust from the other players and my coaches so that I can have that opportunity as well.”

So yea, maybe Strange or Johnson have your attention or maybe a little bit more of the hype. And maybe you're just excited to see Freiermuth grab passes and shake off defenders, but don't forget Kuntz, who has waited the past year for a moment to step up for this moment.

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