2017 Team Preview Coach BPHusker has done a solid job during his tenure at Penn State after taking over for the late and great Joe Paterno. His Lions have constantly been a threat in the B1G conference, and look to have a big year with a good crop of talent. I would go as far as to say that they are the early favorites for their division. The big challenge for the team this year is how will they deal with losing two rising stars at WR, HB, and OLB. Three Penn State players (that shall not be named) up and transferred out of the blue, even though all three were scheduled to be big time factors for the Lions. This left PSU nation shocked, and it should certainly light a fire underneath the current players. Let's take a look at this year's edition of the Penn State Nittany Lions. At quarterback, fifth year senior Ryan Crawford leads the way. He did a great job filling in for McIntosh last season, but will need to work on ball control this coming year. If he can keep from throwing interceptions, the sky is the limit for this kid. He has the type of frame that has NFL scouts drooling at 6'4 240 lbs; he just has to prove that he is ready for the big time. If he struggles, two serviceable QB's in junior Austin Zeigler and freshman Willie Bowling await their opportunity. Both are athletic quarterbacks that can make plays with their feet- which Coach BP likes in his offense. Word out of spring practice is that Zeigler is even taking snaps at running back - and is currently listed as the #2 back on the depth chart. Speaking of running backs, Penn State has another good one in junior Antwan Morton. He is a balanced back with ample speed and a good ability to shed tacklers. He certainly has some big shoes to fill, as Ryan Moore (Penn State's career all time leading rusher) graduated last spring. At receiver, Penn State needs a leader to step up. Sophomore Steven Jackson, junior Joel Davis, senior Philip Wade, and sophomore Rashaun Smith are all solid wide outs, but someone needs to seperate themselves and show they can make the big time catches. Wade has some good speed that could be utilized very well, and at 5'11 will likely have some chances for good YAC yardage from the slot position. The tight ends for PSU have ample athleticism, and freshman Mark Thurman has a lot of potential at 6'6 243 and is a solid athlete and blocker. The offensive line is led by two seniors, Andrew Miller at center and Tim Hayes at RG. These two are some of the best offensive lineman in the country, and should open up some big holes for Morton and company. There is also a handful of underclassmen that should pan out to be very good lineman. This should be one of the better offensive line units in the conference. The defensive line is a menacing unit for Penn State, led by 6'6 280 freak of nature Adrian Sutton at defensive end. He has great size as mentioned, and is also very very quick off the edge. He has a shot to be the best defensive lineman in the country stats wise. Senior Brad Stone is at the other end spot and is a really good run stopper. Donnie Pierce and Matt Graham reside int he middle of the line, and are both solid defensive tackles. Linebacker U has a mix of new blood and experience at the position, led by junior Connor Hall. Hall is arguably the most athletic linebacker in the country and has elite acceleration and quickness for the position. True freshman Reggie Daugherty is at the other linebacker spot, and should be a good one when it is all said and done. Sophomore James Henderson resides in the middle, and is a very smart player at the position. The secondary is a deep position for the Lions, and senior strong safety Gerald Smith leads the way. He is a good athlete and excels in coverage. Sophomore FS Luke Kiniry is a star in the making and is probably one of the best athletes on the team. Juniors Trent Jackson and Chase Robinson form a dynamic tandem at CB and will be the best duo in the country next season if both return. Junior Isaac Wiggins will handle both punting and kicking for the Lions, and was very good last year. He averaged nearly 50 yards a punt, and went 17-19 on field goals with a long of 53. Overall, I think this will be a very competitive team. They are deep at some of the key positions and have some blooming stars. The only question is what will happen when teams slow down the running game? Can Crawford take an average receiving group and move the ball through the air? Whatever happens, this should be an exciting team to watch. I see them finishing with 10 wins and playing in the CCG.