Meet Your 2021 Nittany Lions

Penn State players, coaches, and staff gathered at Beaver Stadium for the team’s annual photo day, which features plenty of time for everyone to get photos with family and friends, in addition to the official photos by position group and other categories. Photo credit: John Patishnock

What a special day for the players and their families.

That’s the feeling I had as I was leaving Beaver Stadium today, after the media portion of the football team’s annual photo day concluded. Media had about 90 minutes to watch, grab some photos and videos, and see the Nittany Lions in a somewhat relaxed environment. Just as important as anything, coaches and players had the opportunity to have their family members and friends at the stadium for photos. Seeing the pure joy and enthusiasm on the faces of parents, brothers and sisters, and other family members is always special.

The atmosphere at photo day is a combination of graduation and the first day of classes. There’s plenty of excitement, some goofiness, and maybe even some wonder about what the future will hold.

Associate head coach and letterman Terry Smith ’91 (center) and the team’s cornerbacks took time out Saturday to pose for a group photo. In addition to the official team photos, players and coaches also get plenty of photos on their phones during the day. Some are serious, some are light-hearted, though all are good memories. Photo credit: John Patishnock

After the Blue Busses pulled up to the stadium to drop off the players, everyone gathered in the north end zone for the official team photo. It’s not an easy task to take that large of a group photo, and there’s a fair amount of last-second shuffling, though everything is worth it to get that shot.

Looking across the field at Beaver Stadium, there’s plenty of talent on this squad, and head coach James Franklin has assembled an impressive coaching and support staff. Included among that group is letterman Alan Zemaitis ’05, who returned to his alma mater earlier this year as an assistant recruiting coordinator. During media day, defensive coordinator Brent Pry spoke highly of Zemaitis, called “AZ” for short, for his energy. Smith added that Zemaitis especially epitomizes one of the team’s four core values: have a positive attitude. Even though he’s been in his position for not quite six months, it’s clear Zemaitis has already had an impact.

Letterman Alan Zemaitis ’05 was back on the field at Beaver Stadium, where he excelled as a second-team All-American and three-time all-Big Ten selection at cornerback. Photo credit: John Patishnock

Penn State opens the season Sept. 4 at Wisconsin, with a noon (ET) kickoff, 11 a.m. local time. The week after, the Nittany Lions begin a four-game home stretch against Ball State, Auburn, Villanova, and Indiana. You can check out the entire schedule at GoPSUsports, with kick times and TV info still TBD for most of the games.

As always, we’ll keep alumni updated and connected as we roll through the season.

For more on The Football Letter, including online archives (requires Alumni Association member log-in), click here.

Not yet an Alumni Association member? Click here.

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