The 2020 season was a rough one for Penn State. After 15 straight seasons with a winning record, the Nittany Lions finished a disappointing 4-5. To avoid a repeat, coach James Franklin and company are looking to make a few changes.
One of those changes will be adding experience out of the transfer portal. Back in December, the program’s player personnel director, Andy Frank, went in depth about switching things up and using the transfer portal.
“The big change that we think is likely to happen here shortly is that kids will have immediate eligibility,” Frank said, via Lions247. “That’s going to be another ramp-up to what the transfer portal means. I think we all kind of realize that, in the past, for us at Penn State, transfers were not a big part of our overall recruiting process. That will change. We’re not going to make a full-time living in terms of all of our players are going to come to the transfer portal by any stretch of the imagination. We’re still going to do the majority of our recruiting from the high school ranks, but we’re going to be active in the transfer portal, and we’re going to be looking for guys that can help us fill gaps.”
On Tuesday, four players were added out of the portal. Those players include:
- John Lovett, RB, Baylor
- Johnny Dixon, CB, South Carolina
- Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Temple
- Derrick Tangelo, DT, Duke
All four players will have a chance to contribute, but the defensive additions could be big. There’s starter experience in there, and enough production to take notice.
Take Ebiketie for example. Last season, he had 42 tackles, 8.5 of them for loss and four sacks in only six games. That was good enough to earn him second-team All-AAC recognition. Could he make as big of an impact as Quincy Roche, another Temple grad transfer, did for Miami?
That remains to be seen, but he should at least been in the mix.
On the other side, Lovett will provide a much-needed boost at running back. In 42 career games at Baylor, he totaled 1,986 yards (1,803 rushing, 183 receiving) and 18 total touchdowns. Expect him to be a part of the rotation.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.