Ranking Penn State Football’s 4 best freshman seasons as Kalen King emerges

Penn State Nittany Lions corner back Kalen King (Mandatory Credit: Mark Alberti-USA TODAY Sports)
Penn State Nittany Lions corner back Kalen King (Mandatory Credit: Mark Alberti-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Penn State Football Freshman cornerback Kalen King has been a standout thus far in spring practice and showed the 7,000 in Beaver Stadium Saturday what he could do

Penn State Football head coach James Franklin said last week that freshman cornerback Kalen King is the most advanced he’s seen since being in Happy Valley.

That was a bold statement from a coach who had talents like Saquon Barkley and Micah Parsons come through his program, but King got his chance to show what he could do in Beaver Stadium Saturday for the sprig practice/scrimmage and backed up his head coaches sentients.

King had two interceptions, including returning one for a touchdown when he stepped in front of a pass from quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson. He also would have had an easy sack of quarterback Sean Clifford but pulled up as of course hitting the quarterbacks was off-limits in this one.

The four-star recruit out of Cass Tech in Detroit, Michigan looks like he could be a gem out of what some considered an underwhelming 2021 recruiting class.

The early enrolled freshman has been such a standout at corner, former corner Marquis Wilson has been experimenting with playing some wide receiver, partly because he could be a real weapon with the ball in his hands, and partly to make room for King in an already crowded cornerback room.

With Joey Porter Jr, Tariq Castro-Fields, Johnny Dixon, Keaton Ellis and Dequan Hardy this group already figured to be a strength of Brent Prey’s defense and it looks like King is forcing his way into the rotation.

As the hype grows around King and he looks poised for a breakout true freshman season, it got us thinking about the top true freshman seasons of recent memory for Penn State Football:

No. 4: TE Pat Freiermuth

The tight end arrived in State College a highly touted four-star recruit and did not take long to make his presence felt at the collegiate level.

Penn State Football was in search of their next great tight end with Mike Gesicki off to the NFL, and after a slow start in which he saw limited action in the first two games, Pat Freiermuth broke out. He ended up catching 26 passes for 368 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman.

He was selected as a Freshman All-America by The Athletic, 247sports and ESPN as well as honorable mention All-Big Ten by the coaches and media.

Freiermuth would go on to have a stellar career as a Nittany Lion hauling in 16 touchdowns after his junior year was cut short due to injury.

Now, Freiermuth will await to hear his name called in this year’s NFL Draft.