As the primary focus surrounding the Penn State Nittany Lions this summer will center around the QB battle between incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg and JUCO transfer Tyler Ferguson, it’s always easy to forget that their abilities alone can only take them so far. Just like any other quarterback in the history of football, they need help.
Penn State has three capable running backs in the backfield in Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton, and Akeel Lynch. Oh yeah, also returning is that guy at wideout that made a bit of noise last season, the ultra-talented Allen Robinson. The Lions really aren’t that short on skill talent this season to help with the transition of whomever the new QB maybe.
However, it may the the play of redshirt sophomore tight end Kyle Carter that can make the biggest difference.
Carter will be returning to the field this season after suffering a season-ending wrist injury, requiring surgery, against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on November 10. Up to that point, Carter had tallied 36 catches for 453 yards and two touchdowns.
2013 should be a breakout year for Carter, and that will only help the entire Penn State offense prosper. At 6-3 and 247-pounds, the Delaware native fits the mold of the prototypical tight end that head coach Bill O’Brien is looking for to open up his offense. Thinking back to his previous employer, a Penn State tight end nowadays needs to display the attributes similar to Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots. They need to be big, sure-handed, fast, and most importantly, physical.
Carter possesses all of these characteristics and it’s now time to let them loose.
Making Carter an immediate go-to tool in the Nittany Lion offense will help the new quarterback tremendously. He’ll be a nice outlet for the new signal caller whenever under duress. A big, athletic target like that always finds a way to get open. When either Hackenberg or Ferguson are in trouble, they need to find #87.