Penn State head coach James Franklin made it clear Monday afternoon that, regardless of who emerges as the Nittany Lions' top two tailbacks, he'd like to see the third earn reps or a role as a kickoff return man this season.
Said Franklin, "It's a way to get him involved in the game and get him some touches, as well and typically kickoff return, you'd rather have a big, strong powerful guy to be able to trust the scheme and hit it full speed."
Sure enough, Monday afternoon when the media was invited to take in about 20 minutes of the Lions' first practice of the preseason, the team's full slate of scholarship running backs repped kick returns.
From Bill Belton, Zach Zwinak and Akeel Lynch to true freshmen Mark Allen and Johnathan Thomas, all but Nick Scott appeared with the group. And, as important to note, Scott was off working with the punt return unit across the field.
Additionally, safety Adrian Amos was given a crack at handling kick returns.
Of the group, only Belton and Lynch had any experience returning kicks in games last season, with Belton's four returns for 75 yards (18.8 per return) leading the way and Lynch only securing one return for just eight yards.
One other with kick return experience last season, Jesse Della Valle, was also working with the punt return unit, which also consisted of Jordan Lucas, DeAndre Thompkins, Gregg Garrity, and Grant Haley.