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Source: Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth will not play this football season

JON SAUBER
Centre Daily Times (TNS)
FILE - In this Dec. 28, 2019, file photo, Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth (87) runs with the ball after a catch during the first half of the NCAA Cotton Bowl college football game against Memphis in Arlington, Texas.  Freiermuth was selected to The Associated Press preseason All-America first-team, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman, File)

Penn State football will be without its star tight end whenever it next takes the field.

Junior Pat Freiermuth will not return to play when the season begins, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

The team already lost its star linebacker when Micah Parsons decided to forego his junior season and declare for the 2021 NFL draft amid uncertainty about when the Nittany Lions will take the field again during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Freiermuth, like Parsons, is widely projected to go in the first round of next year’s draft.

The star tight end accomplished plenty in his two years on the football field at Penn State. He was a reliable target for former quarterback Trace McSorley and redshirt junior Sean Clifford in one year with each starting quarterback. Freiermuth was a strong and physical blocker who didn’t back down from opposing defensive linemen, while displaying astute skills as a pass-catcher and a runner after the catch.

Pat Freiermuth

He finished his Penn State career with 69 receptions for 875 yards and 15 touchdowns in 26 games played. His 15 touchdown receptions tie him for ninth all-time at Penn State and leaves him tied with Mike Gesicki for most among tight ends in school history.

Freiermuth was expected to be Clifford’s primary target again this season, had it taken place on schedule.

Instead, the Nittany Lions will have to replace him from within when they take the field next. His replacement could be redshirt sophomore Zack Kuntz, who signed with Penn State alongside Freiermuth in the 2018 recruiting class. Kuntz is the team’s eldest scholarship player at the position but only has three receptions for 26 receiving yards in his two seasons with the football team.

Penn State did not have information on the matter at the time of publishing.