Football players from New Jersey just have a toughness and an attitude that appeals and a lot of good football players have come out of that state.
Tall receivers also appeal. An athletic big receiver like Kelvin Benjamin of the Carolina Panthers and formerly of Florida State can create match up problems and nightmares for any defense. Even though taller Defensive Backs are all the rage, they are still not generally as tall as the taller receivers they are covering.
Juwan Johnson of Penn State is from Glassboro, New Jersey and he’s 6-4, 220.
Juwan Johnson is a player I will want to watch in 2017 and after.
With last year’s receiving star Chris Godwin declaring for the NFL Draft and being taken in the 3rd round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there is now an opening for another receiver to take over the starting role. Juwan Johnson appears to be ready to make his move.
In Penn State’s last Spring Game Johnson really, really looked good. He looked like a guy that is ready to become a star and make up for the loss of Godwin. He caught the ball well with his hands either high, or low. He didn’t mind throwing his body around to put himself into position to make a catch. Johnson looked to be a breakout player for 2017.
Godwin had 59 receptions in 2016 for 982 yards and 11 Touchdowns. Juwan Johnson hardly seems like the appanswer on paper since he had all of 2 catches for 70 yards and zero Touchdowns a year ago. But, then, he’s not the only player on the Nittany Lions’ roster that will need to step up.
Senior DaeSean Hamilton caught 82 passes as a freshman and his production has slipped every year since then with 45 catches in 2015 and 34 last season. DeAndre Thompkins is also back for his junior season after catching 24 as a freshman and 27 last year.
Saeed Blacknall is back for his senior season and he will need to have a huge year if he wants to continue playing football. He’s another big receiver and also from New Jersey.
The Nittany Lions also have another big receiver from New Jersey in Irvin Charles from Sicklerville. He’s similar in size and talent to Juwan Johnson at around 6-4, 220. Like Johnson, Charles was also a freshman last season and he also caught 2 passes as a reserve.
Keep an eye out for Mac Hippenhammer, a true freshman from Fort Wayne, Indiana that is a deep threat and a dangerous return man. If nothing else, he might have the coolest name on the team.
Adding to the talented Wide Receivers is dangerous Tight End Mike Gesicki. He’s almost unstoppable in one on one situations with a Defensive Back.
Penn State has one of the very best offensive weapons in the nation in Running Back Saquon Barkley
and he’s back for his last season at Penn State, for sure. With the new trend in college football, Barkley likely skips the bowl game to avoid injury and the Nittany lions will need a good back to step up. Miles Sanders was a freshman last season, and a very highly regarded one. He’s no Saquon Barkley, but very few are. Sanders has already proven he’s got a great work ethic coming in as a freshman last season at 205 and now he’s up to 225 and without losing any speed and quickness.
The Offensive Line was a team weakness for several years due to lack of numbers, for one thing. But, 2017 saw a rapid change up front. New Offensive Line coach Matt Limegrover was maybe the biggest improvement, but guys like Ryan Bates, Connor McGovern, Chasz Wright and Brendan Mahon all came on strong last season and are all back for more.
Of course, Quarterback Trace McSorley is also back and ready to continue what he started last season. Too short, too small, not strong armed enough, say whatever negatives you will about the kid, but he’s a winner and he proved that in high school and again at the college level leading the Nittany Lions to the Rose Bowl.
People in the know say that back up Tommy Stevens could be the best in the conference in that position.
Penn State will be a dangerous opponent for anyone they face next season, but Juwan Johnson is my pick as their next break out star. Look for him to have a huge season in 2017. He looks to have the trust of his Quarterbacks and if the ball is anywhere near him he will make an all out effort to come up with it. Making his Quarterbacks look better means more passes thrown his way.
Juwan Johnson might be an All American by season’s end.