Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Some surprises on Penn State's depth chart for Ohio

Bill O'Brien released his depth chart for Penn State's season opener against Ohio on Saturday and it includes some surprises.

Some surprises on Penn State's depth chart for Ohio

Penn State head coach Bill O´Brien announced the depth chart for 2012 Nittany Lions. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)
Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien announced the depth chart for 2012 Nittany Lions. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

The depth chart released Monday by new Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien for the Nittany Lions’ season opener against Ohio contains some surprises.

One of the bigger ones is at defensive end where redshirt freshman Deion Barnes, a graduate of Northeast High School, is considered even with senior Pete Massaro of Marple Newtown. Massaro missed some practice time last week because of what he called “a few setbacks” with his surgically repaired left knee.

Some other surprises are at wide receiver, where only one starter – sophomore Allen Robinson – is sure to be on the field for Penn State’s first snap of the season, and at backup quarterback where first-year player Steven Bench is pressing redshirt sophomore Paul Jones for the spot behind Matt McGloin.

Other battles for a starting berth continues at offensive tackle between senior Mike Farrell and junior Adam Gress, and at defensive tackle between junior Da’Quan Jones and senior James Terry.

More coverage
Owls Inq: Five keys for Temple vs. PSU
Video: Penn State looks ahead to Temple game
Owls Inq: Temple falls in power rankings
Buy local college sports tickets
Latest college sports videos
Complete coverage of the Penn State scandal

O’Brien did not name any kickoff or punt returners on his depth chart. The top players from last year’s return game – Chaz Powell (graduated), Devon Smith (dismissed from team) and Justin Brown (transferred) – are all gone.

He did list junior Alex Butterworth as the punter and sophomore Sam Ficken as the placekicker, but named no backups behind them.

Besides Bench, a number of true freshmen have moved into position to play in the season opener.

Trevor Williams is even with junior Shawney Kersey (Woodbury) at one wide receiver position. Eugene Lewis is battling sophomore Matt Zanellato for the backup wideout spot behind Robinson. And linebacker Nyeem Wartman has performed well enough at middle linebacker that he’s listed with senior Michael Yancich at No. 2.

Another freshman, Da’Quan Davis, who has impressed O’Brien in camp, is backing up Stephon Morris at cornerback.

Other positions where players are considered even for a starting berth are at wide receiver with sophomore Alex Kenney and senior Evan Lewis and at safety with Stephen Obeng-Agyapong and Jake Fagnano. Fagnano has missed much of pre-season with a hamstring injury.

The entire depth chart can be accessed here:

 --Joe Juliano

Inquirer Staff Writer
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Joe Juliano has been a staff writer for The Inquirer for 30 years, covering covering Penn State football, Villanova basketball and other college sports, along with golf and the Penn Relays. This is his seventh season on The Inquirer’s Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for United Press International from 1976-84.

Joining Joe this season will be Erin McCarthy, an intern for The Inquirer and a junior at Penn State majoring in print and digital journalism. This is Erin's first season on the Penn State football beat. She previously spent two summers as an Inquirer summer intern on the Pennsylvania and South Jersey desks. She is also an editor for the Daily Collegian, the university's student newspaper. A Delaware County native, Erin graduated from Episcopal Academy.

Reach Joe at

Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter