Penn State Football: Seven True Freshmen Green Lit Heading Into Week 1
At least seven true freshmen have been green-lit to see the field this season according to coach James Franklin who spoke to the media Tuesday afternoon as the Nittany Lions prepare for a Week 1 meeting with Idaho this Saturday.
A system several years old, Franklin and his staff categorize true freshmen under red, yellow and green lights, delineating how close a true freshmen is to seeing the field. An NCAA rule in its second year of existence allows true freshmen to play up to four games without losing a season of eligibility.
Previously, short of a season-ending injury, any playing time meant the loss of eligibility. The new rule is meant to benefit the development of younger players.
According to Franklin, the newest Nittany Lions to see the field for at least four games are: (CB) Keaton Ellis, (DE) Adisa Isaac, (LB) Lance Dixon, (LB) Brandon Smith, (RT) Caedan Wallace, (RB) Noah Cain, (RB) Devyn Ford.
Franklin didn't dive into which players are tabbed for longer term contributions although some of these names make for more obvious selections than others. For example, Penn State's staff has been high on corner Keaton Ellis. Linebackers Brandon Smith and Lance Dixon both come to campus as talented prospects ready to contribute to an already talented linebacker room.
Similarly, Cain and Ford fill out a four-deep running back room that may not need to be four-deep by the time Big Ten play rolls around.
Their own play and the performance of their teammates will dictate much of how the 2019 season unfolds for these seven players, but for now they've been given the chance to show fans, coaches and teammates what they bring to the table.
And on Saturday they will begin to show everyone.