Penn State offensive tackle Rasheed Walker will return for his redshirt junior season. Walker announced the decision on Twitter early Tuesday evening.
Walker – who started all nine games at left tackle for the Nittany Lions and all 13 as a redshirt freshmen in 2019 – will become an even bigger part of Penn State’s offensive line unit following the departures of seniors Will Fries and Michal Menet to the NFL Draft.
The news is the first major return for an offensive line that recently lost the aforementioned seniors in addition to occasional starter CJ Thorpe who entered the NCAA Transfer Portal last week. Walker was named a third-team all-Big Ten selection this past season by the media while conference coaches gave him an honorable mention nod.
Walker is the fourth noteworthy returnee to announce his intentions so far this offseason joining safety Jaquan Brisker, corner Tariq Castro-Fields and receiver Jahan Dotson.
Penn State will also welcome incoming freshman offensive tackle Landon Tengwall to campus as it looks to reestablish its offensive front.
While it does not directly impact Walker relative to this decision, the NCAA ruled early in the 2020 cycle that the now completed college football season would not count towards a player’s eligibility.
In turn, any and all senior players who would otherwise have no collegiate eligibility remaining could – in theory – return. For players like Walker, it essentially adds an additional season to their careers if they so choose to exhaust all remaining years of eligibility.
The NCAA is also expected to pass legislation in early 2021 that would allow any player to transfer once during their career and not be required to sit out the upcoming season. Under current rules, any transfer that is not provided a waiver is required to sit out the following season, although this does not apply to the 2020 season due to a ruling related to the COVID-19 pandemic.