Penn State Football 2017 Player Profile: Andrew Nelson

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Center Brian Gaia
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Center Brian Gaia /

Veteran Andrew Nelson co-leads Penn State football’s offensive line in terms of experience. Can Nelson and fellow o-line Brendan Mahon take over as graduates?

In recent years the Penn State football offensive line struggled to keep its quarterbacks upright. In 2016 the offense began to spike upward and that’s largely due to an improved offensive line. Trace McSorley’s mobility also helped, but the team gave up just 24 sacks in comparison to the 39 allowed by 2015’s line.

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Numbers aside, the team returns most of its offensive line including graduates Andrew Nelson and Brendan Mahon. Both returned for their fifth year of football making both of them the old men up front.

Although they’ll be in their fifth years this fall, Nelson is looking for his first full year as a starter since his freshman season. Nelson has started 27 games in his career. However, he also missed 12 games in the last two seasons including the final eight last year.

Big-time size

When he’s been on the field, he’s been one of the more reliable players – that’s what allowed him to see time early. That and his massive size. Nelson stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 306-pounds.

His immense size makes him an anchor on the offensive line. He started most of his games at right and left tackles. Nelson earned Second Team Freshman All-American Honors from Athlon Sports according to his Penn State player profile.

More recently, he helped the offense reach a whole other level which averaged 435.6 yards per game. Nelson wasn’t a part of the Ohio State win, but he started the win streak. Penn State racked up nearly 1,000 yards over a two-game span.

The Nittany Lions played a clean game in week five resulting in a 29-26 win over Minnesota and the start of the nine-game win streak. Following the win, he helped get the running game going before suffering his season-ending injury. Ultimately, the team finished with 374 rushing yards in the 38-14 win over Maryland.

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The 2017 season could be his finest. As a fully healthy returner, he brings great depth and veteran leadership to this star-studded group.