Penn State Football Roster 2022: Nittany Lions newcomers to watch in 2022


Penn State landed the No. 6 recruiting class in 2022, according to Sports Illustrated, a class that should have an immediate impact on the field next season. Additionally, despite deliberately entering the transfer portal cycle, the Lions have identified an important player for the 2022 offense.

This list will likely change, especially as the Lions dive deeper into the portal, but for now, here are five newcomers who could make a significant impact in their first seasons at Penn State.

Drew Allar

Position: Strategist

About him: Allar is the highest-ranked quarterback James Franklin has signed at Penn State, an SI99 player who threw for 4,444 yards and 48 touchdowns at Medina (Ohio) High last season. He shone at the Elite 11 camp and started in the All-American Bowl before signing up in early January.

Why it will matter in 2022: Allar is the kind of quarterback who doesn’t sit still for long, even behind a sixth-year senior starter like Sean Clifford. Especially in the NIL era, quarterbacks enter the field or enter the transfer portal. Allar has enormous potential, both on the court and in NULL earnings, which needs to be nurtured. As a result, Franklin will likely have to play Allar this season. Maybe the freshman forces Franklin’s hand and earns the No. 2 spot — or even the starting role at some point this season. Even if he doesn’t, Allar deserves a long search for playing time.

Penn State quarterback Drew Allar threw for 4,444 yards and 48 touchdowns as a senior at Medina, Ohio High in 2021.

Alex Bacchetta

Position: Bettor

About him: Bacchetta, a three-time all-state punter and kicker at Georgia, joins Penn State’s roster as a purse pundit. Kohl’s Kicking ranked him as the No. 1 punter of the 2022 recruiting cycle and also the No. 8 kicker. Bacchetta averaged 40.3 yards per punt last season and went 24 for 24 in field goal attempts within 45 yards during his high school career. Bacchetta scored five field goals in one game (tying a state record) and helped his soccer team win a state title in 2019.

Why it will matter in 2022: Penn State needs a punter with Jordan Stout entering the draft, and Bacchetta probably is. He weighs 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds with a powerful leg and will be the only stock bettor on Penn State’s roster. The Lions have scholarship pitchers in Jake Pinegar and Sander Sahayadak, but are looking for Bacchetta to lead the punting competition when he signs up.

Dani Dennis Sutton

Position: defensive end

About him: Although he missed part of his senior season due to injury, Dennis-Sutton still made a big impact. He was a breakout player at the All-American Bowl, making plays all week and finishing with a sack in the game.

“Dani Dennis-Sutton made waves off the bus early in the week in San Antonio and he flashed with easy pressure Saturday afternoon,” Sports Illustrated recruiting director John Garcia, Jr. wrote. from San Antonio. “His hands worked a left tackle for a second quarter sack, and on the next play he ducked down to cover a plug in the flats with a pop to get him out of the way. The SI99 rookie n won’t wait long to make an impact at Penn State.”

Why it will matter in 2022: Penn State needs pass-rushers, even with returning starters Nick Tarburton and Jesse Luketa (and projected 2021 starter Adisa Isaac). Dennis-Sutton doesn’t have to be a three-down player. Positional trainer John Scott Jr. can pull him into a quick spin, helping Dennis-Sutton develop while allowing him to put his 6-foot-5, 255-pound frame to work.

Kaden Saunders

Position: Recipient

About him: Saunders topped 1,000 total yards at Westerville South (Ohio) High last season, catching 38 passes and averaging 27 yards per kickoff return. As a junior, he caught 47 passes for 958 yards and 13 touchdowns. Saunders also developed a relationship with Allar, as the two trained together during the camp circuit and in their spare time.

Why it will matter in 2022: Saunders (5-10, 170) brings an element of speed to Penn State’s offense and could work his way into returning teams as well. With the return of Parker Washington and KeAndre Lambert-Smith (and the arrival of Tinsley), Saunders has no pressure to assert himself as a rookie. But it might just open a few offensive doors, especially in situational sets that would benefit from Saunders’ skill set.

Kaden Saunders

Wide receiver Kaden Saunders caught 85 passes over the past two seasons at Westerville South (Ohio) High.

Nicholas Singleton

Position: To recover

About him: Singleton won two major national awards (Gatorade Player of the Year and Maxwell Football Club Offensive Player of the Year) after rushing for 2,059 yards and 44 touchdowns at Governor Mifflin, Pennsylvania High last season. He broke Berks County career records for rushing yards (6,326) and touchdowns (116) and was Sports Illustrated’s leading running back in the 2022 class.

Why it will matter in 2022: Penn State’s lackluster running game needs a spark, just like it did in 2015 when Saquon Barkley arrived. The Lions have good guards (Keyvone Lee, Devyn Ford, Caziah Holmes) and lost one when Noah Cain was traded to LSU. But that doesn’t change the situation. Singleton could be that player.

Mitchell Tinley

Position: Recipient

About him: Tinsley was part of the NCAA’s most prolific passing offense last season at Western Kentucky, where he caught 87 passes for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns. Western Kentucky threw for more than 6,000 yards, averaging 433.7 per game, throwing a transfer gate mayhem for Tinsley.

Why it will matter in 2022: Landing Tinsley was an immediate upgrade for the Penn State offense, which needed a deep threat with the departure of Jahan Dotson. Tinsley (6-1, 205) averaged 16.11 yards per catch and caught five passes over 40 yards. What’s more, according to Sports Info Solutions, he’s only dropped two assists on 125 targets.

Kaden Saunders

Mitchell Tinsley caught 130 passes over the past two seasons at Western Kentucky, where he played for the NCAA’s most prolific passing offense of 2021.

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