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Penn State Football: Wilson Makes Position Change As Nittany Lions Look To Take Advantage of Ball Skills

Like the flowers out of the ground, spring also marks the time of year when position changes take place and depth charts start to look more and more different than the year before.

In this case, enter Penn State sophomore corner Marquis Wilson who could see time on both sides of the ball this year with some snaps on offense at receiver.

“Marquis is a guy that we’ve been really talking about since we’ve recruited him about the possibility of playing both ways,” Penn State coach James Franklin said on Saturday. “My philosophy is, once you really have established yourself on one side of the ball, then I’m open to discussing playing both ways.

“With Marquis it’s partly that but it’s [that he has] great ball skills. He’s got tremendous confidence in himself and we’re looking for a few more playmakers at the at the wide receiver position. So we made this change about a week ago, it’s something we’ve probably been discussing for about a week and a half.”

The Connecticut native comes in at 5-foot-11 which would make him one of the smaller targets for quarterback Sean Clifford, although speedy former Nittany Lion receiver KJ Hamler is 5-foot-9 and has found himself happily at home in the NFL.

Wilson has played in 19 games so far as a Nittany Lion, making 31 total tackles through two seasons with two interceptions and three forced fumbles highlighting his 2019 campaign.

While in high school Wilson was selected as an all-state receiver for Avon Old Farms in 2017 and recorded 37 catches for 765 yards and six touchdowns to go along with 51 tackles and four interceptions as a junior.

“We brought Marquis in,” Franklin added. “We don’t ever tell a kid where to go, but we bring him in and talk about what we’re thinking and see if he’s open to it. And he was, he was awesome. He’s still figuring it out right now but he’s already shown some flashes in practice and done some really good things. So we’ll continue to build there.”

In this case the decision to move Wilson across the ball also speaks to the intrigue and excitement surrounding freshman corner Kalen King – who recorded two interceptions during Saturday’s scrimmage and has been praised by coaches and teammates all spring.

Add in returning corners Joey Porter Jr, Tariq Castro-Fields, Keaton Ellis and South Carolina transfer Johnny Dixon and the snaps for Wilson become more limited. Or in the very least, less essential.

“I also think, Kalen King’s development, and Johnny Dixon coming in, we feel like we got pretty good depth at the corner position so it allowed us some flexibility. That factored into it,” Franklin said.