The beginning of the 2013 season is slowly creeping forward for the Penn State football team.
Summer practices are set to begin in early August, and for most fans, it can’t come soon enough.
There are so many questions coming into this year about who will fill in for graduated seniors on both offense and defense and who will become the leaders on this new team.
Many players we already know about, such as Glenn Carson and Allen Robinson, while there are also some young untested players, like Christian Hackenberg.
But with a new year come new expectations.
So let’s see who Penn State fans should be most excited to see in 2013.
As a redshirt freshman, Kyle Carter burst onto the scene in 2012 and became a John Mackey Award-watch list player until an injury sidelined him.
Carter was still named to the freshman first-team All-America team by CBS Sports, Sporting News and Scout.com.
Although he only played in nine games, Carter was still the second leading receiver on Penn State’s roster.
This all means Carter is coming into 2013 with big expectations.
But will Carter hit a sophomore slump with other big tight ends such as Jesse James and Adam Breneman on the roster?
The answer to this question is something to ponder, and if he can avoid a sophomore slump, Carter is someone Penn State fans should be excited about.
Since coming in as a freshman, Adrian Amos has stepped up into whatever role the Nittany Lions needed him to.
This season, Amos is going to begin the year as a safety, the position he has more of a skill set for and where he played in high school.
We all have seen what Amos can do as a corner. He’s athletic and very instinctive and will be one of the best players on the defense this season.
Amos is entering his junior year, and at his natural position, this may be a springboard into him stealing the spotlight.
If Amos is an even better safety than corner, it improves the defensive backfield drastically.
Seeing what Amos can do this year at safety will be exciting for Penn State.
Deion Barnes seemed to appear out of nowhere as a sack machine last season.
Barnes was only a 3-star prospect out of high school, and many fans, including myself, didn’t see him having the success he did this early in his career.
As the top player coming back on the defensive line, Barnes will be counted on to be more than a pass-rusher.
This is what is most exciting about Barnes, that he has only slightly tapped into his potential.
He has the body size and frame and the athleticism, and last season he put that on display.
Barnes can be the next defensive end in Happy Valley, and Nittany Lion fans should be pumped to see what he does this year.
This one is a bit of a no-brainer; Allen Robinson was the Big Ten’s top receiver.
But with a new quarterback comes the challenge of repeating that chemistry and performance from last season. Robinson had a seasoned, confident signal-caller throwing balls to him, and that all changes this year. He will need to lead this offense and make it easier on whoever wins the job as quarterback.
He is going to be a junior and has already shown in the Blue and White game that he is still improving.
Robinson has the talent to even improve upon last season, and that’s something to get really excited about.
After all of the sanctions on Penn State through scholarship removals and a bowl ban, Christian Hackenberg emerged from the recruiting class of 2012 as one of the saviors.
He stayed strong to his commitment, and it wouldn’t be surprising if his decision to stay kept some recruits from rescinding their commitments.
Now, Hackenberg has the opportunity to be the starter at quarterback.
He is competing against former JUCO quarterback Tyler Ferguson, and coach Bill O’Brien made it clear that the spot is open by naming both quarterbacks co-starters.
Hackenberg was one of the best high school quarterbacks in the nation, and he has a chance to have that translate into his freshman season.
The young quarterback is an unknown but is by far one of the most exciting players to anticipate seeing in 2013.
He has the tools to be a very effective quarterback this year, and we’ll all have to wait and see if Hackenberg and live up to the hype.