Former D-10 stars Luketa, Brown crack Penn State depth chart

Former Mercyhurst Prep star Jesse Luketa will see action for Penn State as a true freshman at linebacker.

Penn State head coach James Franklin has three designations for true freshman – Green, Yellow and Red.

Green means they will play right away, Yellow is wait and see and Red means redshirt.

Well, former Mercyhurst Prep star Jesse Luketa is officially in the ‘Green’ category, Franklin confirmed in his Tuesday press conference.

Luketa, who has been practicing at the ‘Mike’ linebacker position, was a January enrollee, and both he and 5-star recruit Micah Parsons have made quite an impression.

Senior Koa Farmer and junior Cam Brown were listed as the starting outside linebackers on Penn State’s depth chart, which was officially released Tuesday, with junior Jan Johnson the starting Mike.

Both Parsons and Luketa, however, as well as redshirt freshman Ellis Brooks are expected to see plenty of playing time this Saturday when Penn State hosts Appalachian State (3:30 p.m./Big Ten Network).

“At linebacker, you’re going to see a lot of those guys,” Franklin said during Tuesday’s presser. “I think they’re gonna get a lot of reps. I don’t think, again, there’s a huge gap between our one’s and our two’s, so I think you’re going to see maybe the two’s get close, if not the same amount of reps as the one’s at a lot of those positions.”

Penn State must replace two of its starting linebackers from last season – Jason Cabinda, who is now with the Oakland Raiders and Manny Bowen, who after a lengthy saga, is no longer with the program.

They’re expected to be just fine, however.

“”I think Koa’s done a really nice job, he’s played a lot of football for us and I think Micah is making a strong push there,” Franklin said. “I think Jan — between Ellis and Luketa — there’s going to be a strong push there. You’re going to see a lot of guys rotating in and getting time.”

Former Meadville standout Journey Brown, a redshirt freshman running back, is listed as the No. 2 kick returner behind fellow redshirt freshmen, receiver K.J. Hamler.

Junior Miles Sanders is set to replace Saquon Barkley at running back, with redshirt senior Mark Allen listed as his top backup and true freshman and former 5-star recruit Ricky Slade No. 3.