Penn State Football: Six Stars From the Blue-White Game Who Factor Into Fall
The Blue-White Game is two-fold at times.
It's a glorified practice where the back-ups have a chance to shine on a big stage. Walk-on cornerback Devin Pryor had his day Saturday, recording an interception and returning a kickoff all the way to the end zone despite the officials whistling him down.
But if you know what to look for, it can also offer a glance at what to expect come fall.
There was plenty of both on Saturday, with a litany of players receiving limited reps or sitting out for precautionary reasons.
Here's six guys who figure to have many more impact moments come fall, when the real ball kicks off.
RB Bill Belton
Suffice it to say, moving Belton from wide receiver to running back appears to be a great decision by the new coaching staff.
Belton finished with 50 yards rushing on seven carries and one reception for 11 yards. He showed ability to run between the tackles, burst to the outside and looked dangerous in space with a few of his cuts.
And, he was back fielding punts.
Everybody knows Silas Redd is the feature back. But backups Belton and Zach Zwinak showed Saturday they can be dangerous options as well.
It was only last month when incoming freshman Akeel Lynch’s name was brought up as possible relief in the backfield.
Much has changed since.
WR Allen Robinson
Players have pointed to Robinson as one of the unknown offensive surprises emerging out of spring practice.
Now, everyone saw his potential.
Robinson made three catches for 87 yards, and a lot of those yards came after the catch. His development will be important for a receiving corps that has proved little outside of Justin Brown and Devon Smith.
DE C.J. Olanyian
Olanyian is not expected to crack the starting rotation on the defensive line, but continuing his play from Saturday will make it difficult for line coach Larry Johnson to keep him off the field.
During one stretch in the Blue-White Game, Olanyian recorded three sacks in six plays, though one appeared to be a missed blocking assignment.
After the departure of seniors Eric Latimore and Jack Crawford, along with Pete Massaro coming off an ACL injury last season, depth at defensive end is a question mark.
Olanyian may be part of the answer.
TE Jesse James
The tight end caught two passes for 24 yards. Big deal, right?
The surprise here was James running out with the first-team offense.
Did we mention he’s an early enrollee freshman?
Whether or not James starts in the fall is irrelevant because O’Brien will incorporate the tight end in lots of formations, and James figures to see plenty of game action.
A 6-foot-7, 265-pound target who moves well for his size, James could create some tough matchups in the fall.
RT Donovan Smith
Senior Mike Farrell started the spring as the starter.
Smith, a 6-foot-5, 310-pound redshirt freshman, ended the spring as the starter.
This position battle wages on heading into summer workouts and training camp, but Smith has more weight to throw around and moved well for his size.
He overtook a first-team spot in less than a month.
It might be hard to take it back.
DB Adrian Amos
Amos played safety on Saturday, started with the second-team defense and intercepted a pass.
He’s a playmaker in the secondary, a unit sorely in need of depth.
The sophomore cracked the defensive backfield rotation last year at corner, but a lack of depth at safety convinced the staff to test Amos there as well.
Jacob Fagnano and Malcolm Willis are two to beat out for the starting job.
Stay tuned throughout summer.