Penn State Football 2020 Season Position Grades: Offense

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Penn State Football
Penn State Nittany Lions running back Keyvone Lee (Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports) /

Running Backs

Grade: B+

Penn State Football started 2020 with one of the best and deepest running back rooms in the country, but after only a handful of snaps were quickly down to three scholarship backs, two of which had never taken a collegiate snap.

With Brown and Cain out, the Nittany Lions looked to sophomore Devyn Ford to step up and be the “lead dog” as Franklin called it.

But, Ford struggled as an every down back, rushing for 274 yards and three touchdowns in six games. The sophomore looks like he could use another offseason in the weight room, as he struggles to break tackles at times, and does not provide much out of the backfield as a pass catcher, with only seven receptions this season.

With Ford not making the trip to Ann Arbor, freshman Keyvone Lee took full advantage of the opportunity running all over the Wolverines for 134 yards and a touchdown, earning Big Ten Freshman of the week honors. Lee became the go to back for the Nittany Lions down the stretch, running for 345 yards and two scores over their four game winning streak.

The Florida native is a bruising back, listed at six-foot and 230 pounds, but probably does not get enough credit for his patience and vision. He seemed to find holes and cut back lanes that Ford did not when he was in. Lee does lack top end breakaway speed, but you live with that with the way he can run through would be tacklers and push the pile when he needs to.

Fellow freshman Coziah Holmes saw more action than most likely anticipated, and looked good in limited carries, running for 227 yards and two touchdown, showing good burst and has breakaway speed in the open field. Holmes falls more in the mold of Devyn Ford then Keyvone Lee.

It will be a crowded backfield in 2021, as Penn State football just added former Baylor running back John Lovett as a senior grad transfer and should get Noah Cain back from injury.