Heading into the 2014 season, guard Miles Dieffenbach was expected to be one of the leaders on the offensive line along with tackle Donovan Smith. The two of them are the only returning starters from last season. Unfortunately, Dieffenbach suffered an apparent serious knee injury during spring practice and it appears unlikely that he’ll be available for the 2014 season.
Coming out of high school in Pittsburgh, Dieffenbach was a 4-star recruit according to Rivals. He was officially listed as a center and was the fourth-best at that position. He was considered the No. 8 overall recruit in Pennsylvania and was ranked as the No. 220 recruit nationally. Being so highly ranked, it’s no surprise that he drew the interest of several college football programs. Florida State, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Northwestern all extended offers to Dieffenbach.
Dieffenbach started 11 games in 2012 at Penn State and was an important part of the offensive line, helping the Nittany Lions have the best offense in the Big Ten Conference. Last season, he was a leader on the line, starting 12 games for an offense that was once again one of the top in the conference. He played a big role in providing solid protection for freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg and was expected to do the same this season.
However, the injury now puts a wrinkle into things. With Dieffenbach’s injury and several other issues concerning other guys, the Nittany Lions will face both depth and experience problems on the offensive line this season. There’s been no official announcement ruling Dieffenbach out for the entire season, though that seems likely.
If fully healthy and able to play, expect Dieffenbach to once again be a key component for the Nittany Lions up front.