As Penn football bids adieu to its senior class, there will be a new set of incoming freshmen in the class of 2023 to fill its place.
The Red and Blue will welcome 33 new players to the team this August. Overall, the split between offensive and defensive players is almost even, with 18 defensive players and 14 offensive players. There will be one punter joining the team.
The most represented positional groups are the linebackers and defensive linemen with seven newcomers each.
The 33 new players represent 16 states, with four each coming from California, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Four of the new Quakers have a familial connection to Penn football through their fathers who played for the Red and Blue a generation ago. One, local Ben Gerber, who hails from the Haverford School, is the third generation of Penn football players in his family. Gerber, who is also the lone quarterback in the class, will follow in his father and grandfather's footsteps.
Two of the new recruits, punter Ben Krimm and linebacker/lineman Ryan Mannelly, both have a family member who played in the NFL.
Three of the 33 will be playing with a former high school teammate. Defensive lineman Grant Ristoff will be playing with five other players from his high school, JSerra Catholic in California.
The class of 2023 brings leadership experience to Penn, as 28 of the 33 players served as team captains for their respective high school teams.
“I think having to hold yourself to a high standard helped prepare me. College is more difficult than high school, so having to be held to a really high standard at high school will help me get more used to the high standards at college,” defensive back Miles Thompson said.
While coach Ray Priore and the Quakers have plenty to advertise to new recruits, at least one member of the class of 2023 was sold by the family culture.
“The moment I realized that Penn was the place that I wanted to be, I was on a game day visit. I went down to the field after one of the games to shake the hand of one of the coaches, and I remember seeing one of the coaches go up and give a hug to one of the moms of [a] player. I remember seeing that and being like 'it’s a family.' It is a lot different than a lot of other places I’ve been to. And that is something that I want to be a part of,” offensive lineman JC Dobis said.
One of Penn’s new players is transferring from another institution. Wide receiver Owen Goldsberry will be arriving in Philadelphia after spending the 2018 season on the Michigan Wolverines scout team.
Priore will look to fill the large gap left by the graduation of offensive lineman Tommy Dennis. Five new offensive lineman — the most of any offensive position group — will join the competition for the position in the fall.
“I think everyone’s goal coming in is playing, contributing as much as possible, so that’s obviously something that I want to do," Dobis said. "It is something that I have been working for since my senior high school season ended. Just being able to compete so that is the goal.”
This class of 2023 is setting its goals very high, and the Red and Blue will look get the most out of their new players. The Quakers will hope to rebound from last season and bring home their third Ivy League championship in the Ray Priore era.
“[One of the] team goals is to win the Ivy League Championship because I have heard that Penn has a winning tradition in the Ivy League, and it would be great to carry on that tradition. Personally, for me, [my goal is to be] working my hardest and doing whatever I can to help out the team,” outside linebacker Jake Gonzalez said.
These incoming freshmen are ready for August. Football season can’t come soon enough.
“I am super excited to get up there and get to work, get on campus and become a part of the culture,” Dobis said.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.