The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Sophomore defensive back Maurcus McDaniel runs with the ball through Brown's defensive line during the game on Oct. 30. Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

So far this season, Penn football has struggled to get momentum going, with its record through seven games at a middling 3-4. However, there have been a number of bright spots, especially from players -- freshman and sophomores alike — who had yet to see game action before this season. Here are five standouts for the Quakers through seven games.

Maurcus McDaniel, sophomore defensive back

McDaniel, who hails from King of Prussia, Pa., has broken out this season in a unique way. Despite being expected to thrive as a cornerback for the team, McDaniel has become a key part of the Quakers' offensive output. 

Against Lehigh in early October, McDaniel stepped in at quarterback and missed his first throw but had another play where he ran for 15 yards. The next week at Columbia was McDaniel's coming-out performance, rushing the ball seven times for 32 yards and a touchdown.

Aidan Sayin, freshman quarterback

After senior quarterback John Quinnelly struggled in the starting role — particularly after playing with an injury — the Quakers turned their hopes over to Sayin, who has played well in the job so far. 

Through two games, Sayin has completed 23 of his 44 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns. His efforts came up huge in the team's first Ivy League win of the season at home against Brown.

Justin Cayenne, freshman tight end

Cayenne comes from Ponte Vedra, Fla. and has provided a quick spark on offense. So far, he's shown flair when posting up on the line or when heading out to receive a pass. Cayenne appears to have the potential to be the versatile tight end Penn needs, and as a freshman, he has a promising future.

Shiloh Means, sophomore defensive back

Defensive back Shiloh Means has managed to begin his Penn career in a strong way. He's had 26 tackles on the season, 15 of which unassisted. Additionally, he had a fumble recovery against Lehigh and has seen playing time in each of the team's last six games. He is one of the fastest defensive backs on the team, as a member of the track and field team. He rarely, if ever, lets the opposing wide receiver beat him.

Joey Slackman, sophomore defensive lineman

Defensive lineman Joey Slackman has proved sensational thus far. He's been a consistent bulwark for the defensive line, notching 12 tackles, including 2.5 for loss. 

Slackman has also been prone to making impact plays, rushing the quarterback for 2.5 sacks and forcing a fumble in Penn's last game against Brown. His combination of speed and size makes him lethal for the opponent’s offense.