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Top Penn State Nittany Lions position battle

8/20/2015

Training camps are heating up, and lineups across the Big Ten are starting to come into focus. But there are still some notable competitions around the league that have yet to be resolved and which could be crucial in determining division and conference titles this fall -- or even the national championship.

Next up in our series taking a closer look at those position battles: the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Top position battle: Left tackle

This is the biggest question mark on the Nittany Lions, as it's the only spot on the O-line that doesn't return a starter.

The top candidates here include junior-college transfer Paris Palmer and redshirt freshman Chance Sorrell. Neither has appeared in an FBS game, and neither has pulled away from the other just yet.

"It's still uncertain," James Franklin said last Wednesday, the last time he addressed the media. "Nobody's kind of grabbed a hold of the spot."

During Wednesday's 15 minutes of practice open to the media, Palmer saw most reps on the first-team while Sorrell was relegated to backup status. There's still time for Sorrell to win this job -- Franklin did label Palmer's playing style as "tentative" -- but, right now, Palmer is believed to have a slight edge.

Naturally, Palmer has seen the most growth since January when he enrolled at Penn State. The four-star prospect was officially listed at 278 pounds in March and is now up to 297. According to center Angelo Mangiro, he also power-cleaned 300 pounds recently and "he wouldn't have been able to touch that weight going in."

Sorrell would be the lightest lineman if he started, since he currently stands at 6-foot-5 and 287 pounds. He's athletic for a lineman -- he played tackle/tight end in high school -- and he was Franklin's first-ever commit at Penn State.

Franklin said before that he'd like to make a decision sooner rather than later. And, no matter whom he picks, there will be plenty of eyes on this position.