Penn State coach Bill O’Brien released his first depth chart Tuesday but hinted there will be more fights to win starting jobs in the pre-season than the chart now indicates.
O’Brien named senior Matt McGloin as his starting quarterback last week but said “a handful or other positions are the only ones that I feel are set at this point.”
“There will be a lot of position battles to determine starters during training camp,” he said in a Penn State release.
The depth chart indicates four positions where there is no clear No. 1. The most interesting is at middle linebacker where incumbent starter Glenn Carson is considered even with fellow junior Khairi Fortt, who was slowed during spring practice by a knee injury.
Fortt saw plenty of time at outside linebacker last year after a season-ending torn ACL suffered by Michael Mauti but has shifted to the middle.
Other undecided spots are at cornerback, where sophomore Adrian Amos and senior Derrick Thomas are each listed as No. 1; at one wide receiver position with sophomore Allen Robinson and senior Shawney Kersey, and at left guard with sophomore Miles Dieffenbach and junior Marc Arcidiacono, a St. Joseph’s Prep graduate.
Amos, who was moved from corner to safety in the spring, has returned to his original position.
No fewer than seven tight ends are listed at the Y and F positions that will be manned in O’Brien’s new offense. Junior Garry Gilliam, who sat out all of last year with a back injury, and redshirt freshman Kyle Carter are the current first-teamers.
Jesse James, who enrolled at Penn State in January, and Kevin Haplea, who was second-team to Andrew Szczerba all last season, are the backups.
Devon Smith, who has been charged with marijuana possession following his April arrest, is listed as a first-team wide receiver. O’Brien said he will let the legal process play out with Smith before deciding on his status
Junior Adam Gress and redshirt freshman Donovan Smith, who both were listed as third team on Penn State’s TicketCity Bowl depth chart, are the starting offensive tackles ahead of senior Mike Farrell, who backed up two seniors last season.
Senior Pete Massaro, the former Marple Newtown High star who sat out all last season with a torn ACL, has his starting berth back at defensive end.
O’Brien listed starters at 13 positions on offense, saying, “We will be a multiple personnel grouping team, particularly at wide receiver and tight end.”
O’Brien listed 12 senior starters, seven on defense and five on offense. Senior wide receiver Justin Brown leads all returning players with 19 career starts, while defensive tackle Jordan Hill has 17 to top the defense.