The first depth chart for the season released Monday by Penn State coach Bill O’Brien gave no clues as to the identity of the starting quarterback for the Nittany Lions’ season opener against Syracuse on Saturday at the Meadowlands.
The depth chart listed sophomore Tyler Ferguson “OR” freshman Christian Hackenberg where the first-team player;s name would be. For you detectives out there, Ferguson was listed first, but it could have been in alphabetical order or numerical order (Ferguson wears No. 5, Hackenberg No. 14).
O’Brien had said at the start of pre-season that he would name a starting quarterback about two weeks in. He is expected to comment on the situation Tuesday during his first weekly teleconference of the season.
Two other positions were deemed neck-and-neck on the depth chart – offensive right tackle, where junior Garry Gilliam and senior Adam Gress are battling, and at safety, with senior Malcolm Willis and junior Ryan Keiser.
Junior Bill Belton (Winslow Township High) is listed as No. 2 running back behind Zach Zwinak, and also as the No. 1 kickoff returner and the No. 2 punt returner.
Some true freshmen have found their way on to the depth chart. Brandon Bell (Oakcrest) is a second-team outside linebacker. Andrew Nelson is No. 3 at offensive left tackle. Freshman walk-on D.J. Crook is listed as No. 3 quarterback behind Ferguson and Hackenberg.
Other true freshmen on the depth chart include second-team tight end (Y/F position) Adam Breneman, second-team wide receiver Richy Anderson (tied with Matt Zanellato), second-team cornerbacks Jordan Smith and Anthony Smith and kicker Chris Gulla.
O’Brien also announced that he has awarded scholarships to five walk-ons: sophomore defensive end Carl Nassib (Malvern Prep), junior guard Bryan Davie, junior cornerback Devin Pryor, junior defensive tackle Tyrone Smith and sophomore running back Deron Thompson.