UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa (WTAJ) — The checklist for Penn State’s spring game was three-fold, See Sean Clifford and Mitchell Tinsley have rapport, see Penn State’s three young quarterbacks, and get a look at Penn State’s new defense.
Mitchell Tinsley and Sean Clifford connected for the first score of the game. The sixth year senior looked comfortable with Tinsley, the Western Kentucky transfer. Tinsley caught two passes for 23 yards and a score. The senior wide receiver is expected to fill the void left by Jahan Dotson. Tinsley caught 87 catches for 1402 yards in 2021.
Christian Veilleux, Beau Pribula, and Drew Allar all got their reps behind Sean Clifford. They all had their good moments, and bad moments. Allar threw two picks. He showed the arm talent of a five-star recruit, but his accuracy and decision making didn’t shine. Veilleux put down some of the nicest tape of the backups, but unofficially went just 5-14 during the live 11-on-11 periods, while Pribula, who nearly won the game on the final drive for the offense, finished just 2-3, for 7 yards.
“I feel that they look good coming in,” said wide receiver Malik Meiga. “It is not high school anymore, but I feel that they are doing a pretty good job. I love what they are doing and it’s going to be great in the future.
Penn State’s Defense formally won 17-13, though one should never read too much into a spring game’s score. After all, this wasn’t even a traditional format, rather an offense vs. defense scrimmage. Penn State’s defense got a top-to-bottom makeover in the offseason. Losing seven starters and a DC will change a lot. While it’s hard to glean too much from a spring period focused on learning Manny Diaz’s new system, coach James Franklin feels particularly good about moving Jonathan Sutherland to safety.
“I would say the move of Jon Sutherland to the field backer, it’s been very obvious to everybody that was the right thing for us to do and that was the right thing for John,” he said. “I think he’s got a chance to have a big year.”
Spring games can be tough to pin real takeaways from, but Penn state’ reliance on young talent is apparent. While redshirt freshman Harrison Wallace III may have had the catch of the game, sophomore receiver Malik Meiga also shined. But what maybe jumped most off the page was the rep count of true freshman Kaytron Allen, Kaeden Saunders and Nick Singleton.
“We probably have more guys in this recruiting class, and I’m not really talking about rankings, because as we know, those things are nice, but at the end of the day, it’s about what really shows up on your campus from a production standpoint, but we probably have more new guys showing up on campus that have a chance to impact the roster as freshmen than maybe we’ve ever had,” said Franklin.
Penn State comes out of Saturday’s scrimmage generally healthy, which is also a big bonus. Penn State opens the year September 1 at Purdue.