Going into the 2022 football season, Nittany Lions Wire will be looking at each scholarship player listed on the Penn State roster.
Over the preseason, each profile will cover where the player is from, how recruiting websites rated them coming out of high school, and what role they will play for James Franklin this season.
Penn State has a talented tight end room with plenty of potential headlined by Brenton Strange and Theo Johnson. But another name to watch is Milwaukee native Jerry Cross, who was a top 10 tight end in the country and one of the top players in the state of Wisconsin.
Cross has a lot of potential to be a crucial player in the tight end group.
Preseason Player Profile
AP Photo/Barry Reeger
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Weight: 257 lbs.
247 Sports Composite Ranking
Milwaukee King wide receiver Jerry Cross strides the final yards toward a 70-yard touchdown on a pass from wide receiver Dion Tally against Milwaukee Riverside in a City Conference football game Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, at Pulaski Stadium. Syndication: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
[4-star] | [No. 4 player in the state of Wisconsin] | [No. 9 TE in the nation]
High School Athletic Career
Milwaukee King’s Jerry Cross scores a 2-yard touchdown against Milwaukee Reagan in the Milwaukee City Conference football championship game Friday, October 18, 2019, at South Stadium. Syndication: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Cross has solid size for a tight end. Not only that, he has also lined up as a wide receiver in high school. His versatility is something coaches will fall in love with on the Nittany Lions.
Cross is physical after the catch and uses his size to his advantage.
Some analysts state that while Cross does have room to grow, he does show plenty of upside and can be coached into a very productive tight end.
Cross had plenty of offers from around the country, but with the history of tight end development Penn State has, Cross’ talent and potential should fit in just right with the Nittany Lions.
Depth Chart Overview
Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
Penn State’s top of the tight end depth chart is pretty established going into the 2022 season. Brenton Strange (pictured above) and Theo Johnson are the two leading returning options and each could carry a significant role in the success of the Penn State offense this fall. So it is not expected that there will be too many opportunities for reserve options at the tight end position, at least in any meaningful minutes.
Penn State’s next top option at tight end is [autotag]Tyler Warren[/autotag], who has been used in creative ways on offense at times as well, especially in short-yardage situations deep in the red zone. That should continue to be expected from offensive coordinator [autotag]Mike Yurcich[/autotag] in 2022.
So where does Cross fit into the picture? In 2022, it is likely he will be a deep reserve option for the Nittany Lions. But it may not be too long before Cross starts working his way into fighting for some more significant playing time in 2023 and beyond.