The transfer portal officially opened on Monday, and coaches across the country are trying to plug holes, or completely retool their roster with the plethora of talent that is up for grabs. James Franklin got busy offering a few of the top players in the portal, at positions of need.
So far, Penn State has offered three wide receivers, two offensive linemen, and one defensive lineman. The Nittany Lions have only seen three players enter the portal, two receivers, Jace Tutty and Christian Driver, and punter Alex Bacchetta.
The big focus of this offseason is rebuilding the offense that was so stagnant for much of the year. Franklin has already brought in a new offensive coordinator, Andy Kotelnicki, from Kansas to bring a new level of creativity, but it wasn’t just Mike Yurcich’s scheme that was holding the unit back.
Drew Allar did what he could, but there was not a lot of talent around the five-star sophomore quarterback, especially at wide receiver. If Franklin has success in the portal, then Penn State could not just make the expanded 12-team playoff but have a real shot at winning the program’s first national championship since 1986.
These are the three players that Franklin has offered and absolutely must bring to Happy Valley for the Nittany Lions to keep pace with Michigan Ohio State, and even Oregon and Washington in the Big Ten.
Penn State’s biggest offensive problem was creating big plays downfield. Drew Allar has the lowest percentage of passes that traveled over 20 air yards downfield of any eligible quarterback in the country. Penn State also finished 117th in the country in explosive plays. Indiana had no problem creating explosives at Beaver Stadium this year.
Sure, it was a busted coverage, but Donaven McCulley finished with finished with four catches for 96 yards and a touchdown against Penn State. At 6-foot-5, McCulley finished with 10 contested catches which was 26th in the country and he had a contested catch percentage of 66.7%, also just outside the top 25 nationally.
The junior receiver finished with 48 catches, 644 yards, and six touchdowns this season. He enters the portal with one season of eligibility remaining. He began his career as a running back, so there is still untapped potential as a downfield receiver.