James Franklin is counting on some key transfers and recruits to help the Nittany Lions right away
After a slow start to the modified 2020 season, the Penn State Nittany Lions found a way to end the year on a winning streak. As the page turns toward the 2021 season, however, there will be some new faces to get familiar with in Happy Valley. James Franklin and the Nittany Lions may have signed a relatively smaller class than they normally do, but Penn State made a point to look to the transfer portal to help round out the roster at a few spots.
Penn State landed transfers from the American (Arnold Ebiketie from Temple), ACC (Derrick Tangelo from Duke), Big 12 (John Lovett from Baylor), and SEC (John Dixon from South Carolina). The Nittany Lions also are adding a transfer from Harvard, with offensive guard Eric Wilson. With a combination of the collegiate experience to mix with the incoming Class of 2021, Penn State has some players that should develop some roles with the program fairly quickly.
Here are five newcomers to the program you should keep an eye on moving forward.
Landon Tengwall, OT
The biggest prize in Penn State's Class of 2021 was offensive tackle Landon Tengwall out of Maryland. The four-star prize recruit brings good size (6-6, 300) to the offensive line and should fit in quite nicely. Penn State even has the opportunity to welcome Tengwall to the program as an early enrollee to get him on the fast track to becoming an anchor on the offensive line.
Davon Townley, DE
One of the latest pieces added to this year's recruiting class was plucked out from under the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Minneapolis product Davon Townley is a four-star recruit that should easily continue to legacy of Penn State defensive linemen in a short time. Scouts suggest Townley will need to build up his frame a bit to be more of a force to reckon with in the Big Ten, but he comes with a high ceiling as a player.
John Lovett, RB
After seeing the running back depth get shallow in a hurry last season, Franklin and his staff probably felt a little more urgency to add a running back from the transfer pool. Baylor's Lovett came along at the perfect time. Lovett will instantly provide Penn State with a reliable back to use in the offense. He may not be the main featured back, but he should emerge as an immediate contributor.
Lonnie White Jr., WR
One of Penn State's biggest questions going into the 2020 season was how the play of the wide receivers would pan out. By the end of the year, it appeared to be in good shape with Jahan Dotson and the emergence of Parker Washington. But the addition of another four-star wide receiver in White suggests Penn State has another potential target to work into the rotation.
Kalen King, CB
Penn State made a focus this recruiting cycle to address some needs in the secondary. King was one of the first on board to fill the need, and the four-star recruit is already enrolled. King came to Penn State with his twin brother, Kobe King, who is a linebacker. Kalen King will add good quality depth to the cornerback position and is expected to be a starter for multiple seasons once he gets the opportunity.