Way too early 2021 Big Ten power rankings | Where does Penn State Football stand?

Head coach James Franklin (C) of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
Head coach James Franklin (C) of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /
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Penn State Football
Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

. . Nittany Lions . 2. team. 806.

Penn State football suffered a tumultuous 2020 campaign, plagued by opt-outs and key injuries the Nittany Lions went 4-5, however did win their final four games of the season after their first 0-5 start in program history.

Franklin’s squad will return nine starters on offense from their final game of last season, and seven on defense. With the addition of five transfers who all started at their previous schools  the roster should be reloaded and primed for the Nittany Lions to give Ohio State a run for the Big Ten crown.

Penn State Football will have to figure out the quarterback situation, as Sean Clifford looks to be in line to start once again, but with wide receiver Jahan Dotson and all of his playmakers back on offense,  the offense should be much improved after averaging just under 30 points per game last season. Freshman Parker Washington was a pleasant surprise in his breakout season and compliments Dotson perfectly. The running game should also get a boost with the return of running back Noah Cain off an injury.

Defensively, the secondary could be the best Franklin has had during his tenure, with 4-5 cornerbacks they feel good about and safety Jaquan Brisker back for a fifth season. Young playmakers like Brandon Smith and Joey Porter Jr. give lots of reason for optimism on that side of the ball. Three transfers on that side of the ball who all figure to play significant minutes should help rebuild the defense in 2021.

If Clifford or whoever is at quarterback can solidify that position, even despite a tough schedule, Penn State football should be in line for a 10-2 or better season and back to their winning ways.