One thing that always interests me is the answers players give when asked about guys that have caught their eye during practice. For one, they are the ones going up against these guys every day in practice. But perhaps more importantly, 20 year old kids seem to be a lot more honest than their coaches are. With that in mind, several Penn State players met the media earlier this week, and one of the more popular questions from the press was just that, who has impressed so far this spring.
Starting LB Glenn Carson had this to say about TE Jesse James:
“I’m really impressed with Jesse James. He’s had a great winter. That kid’s just an animal. I’m really excited to watch him play this year. I think he’s a freak athlete. I think he can do amazing things. And if you haven’t been impressed by him yet, I think you’re going to be even more impressed by him next year.”
With Kyle Carter limited this spring as he continues his recovery from a wrist injury suffered in the Nebraska game, it’s good to see James taking advantage of the opportunity.
John Urschel on new center Ty Howle:
“Ty Howle is a great center and a great football player. I’d say he’s one of the most underrated football players on our team. You don’t hear about him enough. I don’t think you guys talk about him enough. I don’t think we’re going to have any problems with him playing at center.”
Center will likely be PSU’s biggest non-QB question going into the season, and seeing a fellow lineman talking up Howle early is encouraging. Plus I’d never argue with Urschel. He’s kind of a genius.
Mike Hull on redshirt freshman Nyeem Wartman:
“Nyeem [Wartman] has looked good so far. He’s doing a great job filling in. I think he’s going to be a great player for us. We just need to all come together as a unit. He’s looking good so far, so we just have to see how he progresses.”
Linebacker is going to be tested significantly from a depth stand point this year. PSU already is down 1, with Ben Kline sitting out the spring with an injury. Nyeem could have a huge impact next season, as he was playing early as a freshman last year before an injury knocked him out.
DaQuan Jones on the young defensive tackles:
“I really think Austin Johnson, Derek Dowrey and Brian Gaia. They’re young, but they’re showing a lot of ability. They’re going to be great down the road. I’m happy seeing their competitiveness in spring ball.”
There’s a huge opportunity to start next to Mr. Jones in the fall with Jordan Hill gone to graduation. From the sounds of it, that competition is bringing out the best in this trio of talented, but inexperienced players.
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