Penn State Football seniors face tough decision | Who stays, who goes?

Penn State Nittany Lions defensive end Shaka Toney (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Penn State Nittany Lions defensive end Shaka Toney (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /
1 of 9

The Penn State football Seniors will get one more chance to play in Beaver Stadium this weekend as they host Illinois. Will some of them take advantage of an NCAA rule and run it back in 2021?

Penn State football entered Saturday’s game against Michigan State honoring the 12 Seniors on this team, not knowing that 24 hours later the Big Ten would announce that during “champions week” the Nittany Lions will host Illinois at Beaver Stadium this coming Saturday, in what will be the regular season finale of 2020.

Those Seniors will get a second crack at Senior Day, but thanks to an NCAA rule put in place this season, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all players will receive a make good on this season. Meaning that 2020 will not count towards their eligibility, so all Seniors could return in 2021 for a victory lap. If they and the program so choose.

Penn State football not only has those 12 Seniors, but a handful of draft eligible Juniors who will have to make a tough decision whenever this season comes to an end.

All programs across the college football landscape will have Seniors and draft eligible Juniors who will be faced with this decision, and it could have a big impact on not only how we view teams in 2021 but also the NFL Draft in April.

Let’s take a look at the Nittany Lions who will be faced with this decision, and take our best guess at who will be back in 2021 and who will be playing on Sundays.:

Will Fries – Guard/Tackle

Redshirt Senior Will Fries has played a lot of football for head coach James Franklin in his five years at Penn State. The New Jersey native has started 40 games along the offensive line during his tenure in Happy Valley, while appearing in seven others.

Not many players across the country will have played in almost 50 games during their college careers. Fries graduated prior to last season’s Cotton Bowl appearance, leading many to believe that would be his last game. The Senior’s draft stock is mostly unknown at this time, as he has not been invited to any post season all-star games to this point.

He made mention to this decision in a press conference last week, and certainly left the door open to returning in 2021.

Prediction: Fries stays and continues to add veteran leadership to this offensive line group in 2021.