September 15, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive end Anthony Zettel (98) sacks Navy Midshipmen quarterback Keenan Reynolds (19) in the fourth quarter at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Navy 34-7. Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-USA TODAY Sports

Victory Bell Roundtable-What PSU Player Will Come From Off The Radar?

So far we’ve talked biggest worry, and biggest positive for this Penn State team.  Today we are going off the radar, quite literally.  That is, what player is going to come from off of the radar to make an impact this fall.

Lead Editor Matt de Bear (@PSUMatt2005)

First of all, let the record show that prior to the 2013 season, I went with Deion Barnes when Tim posed this question, and well, I think that turned out pretty well.  This season, I think I’m going to stick on the defensive line, and specifically defensive end.  I had initially penciled in Brad Bars as the answer to this question, but with his season ending achilles injury, I’m going with Anthony Zettel. As I said on one of our VBR podcasts last fall, Anthony might actually be crazy. I mean, the guy went paint balling without a shirt.  But he’s also a heck of a football player, who showed flashes of his ability last year.  I expect him to get more opportunities this season, and to make the most of it.

Staff Writer Eric Sion (@ericbsion)

One guy who I think will have a breakout year is redshirt sophomore defensive end Anthony Zettel. Zettel was a big time recruit when he arrived in Happy Valley in 2011. He chose Penn State over the likes of Michigan, USC, Wisconsin and others. Even though he only registered 15 tackles and four sacks in his limited time on the field in 2012 (eight games), Zettel showed glimpses of why he can become a force to be reckoned with. The Michigan native has solid build at 6’4”, 257 lbs. and with Sean Stanley and Pete Massaro gone, Zettel will have a chance to play more when spelling either Deion Barnes or C.J. Olaniyan.

Staff Writer Barry Leonard Jr. (@barryleonardjr)

My off the radar player for this season is Bill Belton. While he’s not really off the radar in the traditional sense, I do think that he’ll have a surprising season in 2013. He was expected to do big things last year, but was plagued by both injuries and inconsistent play. Because he had such a poor season in 2012, he may be a forgotten player. Zach Zwinak and Akeel Lynch have been getting all of the hype in the Penn State backfield during this off season, but Belton could play a key role in the offense.
He’s a talented playmaker who could be dangerous as receiver out of the backfield. He’ll also be a great change-of-pace from the hard-running style of Zwinak. I also see Belton being used as a slot receiver in certain situations.

Look for Belton to play a key role in the offense this season.

Staff Writer Corey Hunter (@realhuntdog23)

It’s was too difficult to pick just one player to come from off the radar to make an impact for the 2013 Nittany Lions, so I chose two players: WR Eugene Lewis and DE CJ Olaniyan.  On offense, Eugene Lewis was the jewel of the 2012 recruiting class. He redshirted last year, but he still managed to turn heads working on the scout team in practice.  This year he is officially listed behind returning All-B1G WR Allen Robinson on the depth chart, but Bill O’Brien will run enough various sets that I would not be shocked to see Lewis on the field quite a bit. At 6’1″, the lanky receiver displays a quick burst off the line and he has shown the ability to make plays, as evidenced by his one-handed grab on a low throw by Tyler Ferguson in this year’s Blue-White game.  Remember Eugene Lewis’ name because its one Nittany Lions fans will be hearing about in the next few years!

On defense, CJ Olaniyan is the name that Penn State fans will want to keep their eyes on this season. While most people have become acquainted with the other defensive end, Deion Barnes, it’s Olaniyan that may prove to have the bigger year. No doubt while opposing teams will be focused on stopping Barnes, Olaniyan has a chance to step up and be a force on the opposite side.  The 6’3″ redshirt junior played in 10 games last year recording 15 tackles including 1 sack. He will be counted on to improve those numbers and stay healthy as Penn State has already suffered the loss of his primary backup in Brad Bars.  I look for Olaniyan to be a strong compliment to Deion Barnes in new defensive coordinator John Butler’s 4-3 defense

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Tags: Anthony Zettel Bill Belton C.j. Olaniyan Eugene Lewis Football Penn State Nittany Lions

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