To say the Penn State Nittany Lions are loaded at the tight end position is an understatement. Three returning players will join with two freshmen to make the unit even deeper than before.
When head coach Bill O’Brien came to Penn State, he was already known for utilizing talented tight ends in the passing attack. That trend has held in just one season. Three of the Nittany Lions’ top five receivers a year ago were tight ends. Kyle Carter, Jesse James and Matt Lehman all return for the 2013 season.
Carter was second on the team with 453 yards, even after missing three games due to injury. He scored two touchdowns and was selected to the Big Ten All-Conference team by the media. Carter missed all of this year’s spring practice while still rehabbing from a wrist injury, but is expected to be ready for the season.
James was second on the team behind leading receiver Allen Robinson with five touchdowns, including three in his final four games last season. He’s already picked up where he left off, having an impressive showing in the spring game, catching five passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.
Lehman also showed flashes of talent in 2012, catching 24 balls for 296 yards and three touchdowns. He will add valuable depth and experience to the position this season. His 6-foot-6 frame presents a big target, especially in the red zone.
As if having three talented tight ends isn’t enough, redshirt freshman Brent Wilkerson joins the mix this season and will look to be a factor in the passing attack. True freshman Adam Breneman was a top tight end recruit for 2013, but may be given a redshirt this year.
There’s no doubt that the Nittany Lions have a stockpile of talent at the tight end position heading into the 2013 season.