Penn State Nittany Lions’ Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Abdul Carter, Nicholas Singleton

    The Penn State Nittany Lions have the talent to make a playoff run, and the top 10 returning players in 2024 should make that happen.

    James Franklin continues recruiting at a high level to put the Penn State Nittany Lions in a good place in the Big Ten. This year is no exception, as their top-10 returning players have them set to make a run at a College Football Playoff berth if they can find a few reinforcements.

    PFN Mock Draft Simulator - Desktop

    Penn State Nittany Lions Top 10 Returners in 2024

    Analyzing the returning players at every school is a difficult task in the transfer portal era. As such, we’ve included transfer portal athletes on each team’s roster page to open spring camp in addition to the rostered players from last year.

    10) Kevin Winston Jr., S

    Penn State boasted the second-best defense in college football last year, including the seventh-best pass defense. Despite losing multiple starters, the Nittany Lions return four players with good experience. Kevin Winston Jr., Zakee Wheatley, and Jaylen Reed lead the way at safety, so this staff should feel good about their status for 2024.

    Winston led the team with 61 tackles, adding 2.5 tackles for loss and one interception. With the cornerback spot up in the air, the safety position must step up. The front seven is also going through a transition, so a bigger defensive back like Winston should bear a more significant burden in 2024.

    9) Cam Miller, CB

    Kalen King, Johnny Dixon, and Daequan Hardy all leave big holes in the secondary, meaning the Nittany Lions must find new impact players to fill their shoes. Cam Miller worked into the rotation last year, and that experience should help him step up this coming season. He finished the year with 24 tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks, and one interception.

    8) Julian Fleming, WR

    Running the football wasn’t an issue for the Nittany Lions last year, but throwing the ball didn’t go as well. Their two biggest issues were consistency at quarterback and a reliable deep threat who could create separation, so James Franklin and his staff went into the transfer portal for help.

    Julian Fleming was a highly-rated recruit coming out of high school, but he joined an Ohio State team loaded at receiver. Playing behind guys like Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, Garrett Wilson, and Chris Olave made it tough to get on the field, and Fleming decided a fresh start was needed.

    In 2022, Fleming caught 34 passes for 533 yards and six touchdowns but took a step back last year. Can he be the big-play threat that the Nittany Lions need? If that answer is yes, this offense can reach new heights.

    7) Tyler Warren, TE

    Mike Gesicki, Pat Freiermuth, and Brenton Strange found their way to the NFL Draft over the past few years, so there’s reason to be excited about Tyler Warren. The senior from Mechanicsville, Virginia, surprised the Nittany Lions fanbase by deciding to return, helping a passing attack that needs to improve.

    Warren stands 6’6″ and 259 pounds but has an athletic skill set that NFL scouts and analysts already have on their radar. He produced 344 yards and seven touchdowns in 2023, so any improvement in the passing attack will help him post career numbers.

    6) Jaylen Reed, S

    Again, Nittany Lions fans have to like the situation on the back end of their defense. It gives them peace of mind while the rest of the defense gets sorted out for the year. Jaylen Reed is back after a solid season and will be one of the unit’s leaders with his two years of experience.

    MORE: 2024 Big Ten Weekly Football Schedule 

    Reed recorded a career-high 46 tackles last year and added four tackles for loss and two interceptions. He may take on a more prominent role in the defense, but he proved that he can handle additional responsibilities.

    5) Drew Allar, QB

    Hype followed Drew Allar to Penn State, and the former five-star recruit found that college life requires adjusting. Although he posted 2,631 yards and 26 touchdowns while throwing just two interceptions, the lack of explosive plays hurt the offense.

    Whether it was first-year jitters or something else, Allar knows he must play a more prominent role in the offense this year. The days of short routes and check-downs must lessen, and playing with confidence along with his receivers creating more separation will help.

    There’s not a lack of talent around him, but is there a vertical threat who can stretch the defense? The offense hopes that Fleming can be that guy. From there, everything comes down to Allar. He has the arm talent to make it happen, and any improvement would help this offense tremendously.

    4) Dani Dennis-Sutton, DE

    With Chop Robinson and Adisa Isaac off to the NFL, the Nittany Lions defense needs someone to be a force on the edge. This defense led the nation last year in sacks, but two of their biggest contributors are gone. Fortunately, Dani Dennis-Sutton is back to lessen the blow from those departures.

    Dennis-Sutton won’t be as explosive as his predecessors, but he can still be a force. He’s 20 pounds heavier than the other two guys, and power will be a more prominent approach in his game than quickness. After recording six tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2023, he’s hoping to put forth his best season yet.

    3) Kaytron Allen, RB

    Treat this as a tie for second place, because the Nittany Lions’ running backs are equally good. Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton give this offense one of the best duos in the country, and both have the potential to rush for 1,000 yards this season.

    Allen led the team last year with 902 yards rushing and added six touchdowns on the ground. He’s the more traditional back of the two but was the more efficient rusher with the carries split similarly. They’re great complements to each other and can benefit from Allar’s development.

    2) Nicholas Singleton, RB

    You’re missing out if you haven’t watched Allen or Singleton run the football. Even with the passing attack struggling at times, the rushing attack didn’t take a step back. The duo combined for 1,654 yards and 14 touchdowns, and Singleton was a nightmare to defend for several reasons.

    Even though his average per carry was lower than Allen’s, Singleton is a home-run threat on any play. The Nittany Lions found ways to get him involved in the passing attack too, and he averaged 11.3 yards per catch. Both backs must run behind an offensive line with three new starters, but they have the tools to handle that transition and life in the trenches.

    1) Abdul Carter, EDGE

    Abdul Carter has a future in the NFL, and the biggest question will be what position he’ll play. After two years as a linebacker, Carter is switching to defensive end in new defensive coordinator Tom Allen’s system. If this year goes as well as the last two, the Nittany Lions won’t miss either edge player they lost.

    KEEP READING: 2024 Big Ten Power Rankings

    Carter has a knack for getting to the ball carrier and disrupting the offense. He returns with 104 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks, and those numbers will increase after this season.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

    Related Articles