The Penn State Nittany Lions are gearing up for what could be a memorable 2020 season. After winning their second New Year's Six bowl game in three seasons, James Franklin has Penn State continuing to bring in talented recruiting classes to keep the momentum going. The 2020 season could see some new faces emerge as key players in Penn State's success while the Nittany Lions try to stake a claim at the Big Ten championship.
In addition to a number of new offensive coaches providing a fresh approach to things this year, Penn State's latest recruiting class could add some missing pieces to the puzzle, especially on offense. Three four-star wide receivers could jump right int the mix, and the defense could have another linebacker to cause nightmares for the opposition.
Here is a look at five players joining the Penn State program who should be monitored closely.
Curtis Jacobs, OLB
Micah Parsons is coming off another stellar season, so the need for another talented linebacker wasn't dire. But having someone to place on the field next to Parsons is always welcomed. Jacobs, a Maryland native, is the highest-ranked player in Penn State's 2020 class and the third-best outside linebacker in the nation. It shouldn’t be long before he continues adding to the Linebacker U tradition in Happy Valley, and seeing him line up on the field with Parsons should be a treat before Parsons heads off to the NFL.
Theo Johnson, TE
Penn State will be situated well at tight end in 2020 with Pat Freiermuth back for another season. But Nick Bowers' graduation leaves a spot to fill for a reliable option at the position. Johnson, an import from Ontario, is one of the top-rated recruits in Penn State's latest class. Even better is he is already enrolled and ready to get involved this spring. The 6-foot-6, 242-pound four-star tight end should be able to find a role complimenting Freiermuth in 2020.
KeAndre Lambert, WR
Lambert, a four-star wide receiver out of Virginia, is already enrolled at Penn State. That will give him a jump-start on attempting to find a role in the offense this fall with the new-look offensive coaching staff (including a new wide receivers coach). Lambert has the speed to make up for the loss of KJ Hamler, and he also has some NFL genes. Is uncle is Kam Chancellor, a four-time Pro Bowl player and Super Bowl champion.
Jaden Dottin, WR
Penn State added another four-star wide receiver to the haul in this recruiting class with Dottin out of Connecticut. Dottin brings a bit more height than Lambert (by two inches), and he enrolled early as well. Considering Penn State has a need to have some talented receivers step up to have success in 2020, Dottin getting in some spring practice time could be a huge benefit later on this fall.
Penn State will add another four-star wide receiver later this summer with Texas native Parker Washington.
Ji'Ayir Brown, S
Will Penn State have a sleeper pick from the junior college ranks? Brown is one of two JUCO transfer additions from Lackawanna Community College in Pennsylvania, and he could add some good depth at safety in 2020. Brown was a JUCO first-team All-American with three interceptions and a sack in nine games in 2019.
— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. McGuire also contributes to College Football Talk and hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Patreon, on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook.