New ‘way too early’ Top 25 is way wrong on Penn State Football

Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Athlon Sports leaves Penn State Football out of their way-too-early top 25 for 2021, leaving the Ntany Lions in the “next tier” of teams 

It is prediction season for college football media, filled with way-too-early lists, and one outlet, Athlon Sports is not to high on Penn State Football going into next fall.

Athlon Sports released a way-to0-early top 25 for 2021, and left the Nittany Lions on the outside looking in, with head coach James Franklin’s squad on their “next tier” of teams.

Their list featured four Big Ten teams; Ohio State, Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin, with the Buckeyes the only team inside the top 10.

The other noticeable absence was Michigan, who fell on their “other teams to watch” as potential schools who could break through if a few things go their way next season.

Time will tell as other outlets, as well as the AP and Coaches poll release official top 25 lists whether or not Athlon is an outlier, or it is the consensus opinion that Penn State Football has a lot to prove before they are considered among the nation’s best again.

Last season the Nittany Lions began the season ranked highly by just about everyone, including Athlon Sports who had them at No. 5, so it is easy to see why some media members may be skeptical of putting that type of trust in Franklin bunch yet again next season.

It will be up to Penn State Football to prove last season was an outlier, not the beginning of a downward trend, and their is reason for optimism in Happy Valley.

Let’s take a look at four reasons why we think Penn State Football should be a top 25 team heading into September:

4. The talent is there for them to bounce back

The Nittany Lions simply just have too much talent to repeat last seasons failures, as they have finished at an average of 14th in recruiting class rankings over the past four cycles. An infusion of five solid transfers who were all starters at their last school will help bolster the roster as well.

Penn State Football comes in two and three deep at almost every position with blue chip four-star prospects, not something every team in the country can say.

We saw flashes last season of the young talent on this team that will be returning next season during their four game win streak to close out the 2020.

Freshman running back Keyvone Lee, freshman wide receiver Parker Washington and sophomore linebacker Brandon Smith are just some of the notable names we saw flashes of brilliance from all season and especially later in the year.

Besides the Lee’s and Washington’s who may already be household names for Penn State Football fans, players like Keandre Lambert-Smith, Curtis Jacobs and Adisa Isaac are players we constantly hear nothing but rave reviews about from the coaching staff, and could be primed to have breakthroughs of their own this season.

It will be up to Franklin and the staff to get the most out of this talented roster, but it is tough to foresee a team this full of big time recruits losing next season to the likes of Maryland and Nebraska again.