Freshmen: They walk around campus wearing their high school letterman jackets and using a map to find their classes. They aren't good for much, but in a few years they will be the leaders of your football team. This is the first in a three part series to introduce you to the freshman class of 2008.
Position: Running Back
Hometown: Youngstown, OH
Weight: 212 lbs
Bio: His bio on GoPSUSports sums up his high school career pretty well.
Beachum was a standout at Cardinal Mooney HS as a junior and senior for Coach P.J. Fecko. He was selected an All-American by Rivals.com, first-team All-Ohio, All-Northeast Ohio and all-conference. Beachum was instrumental in Cardinal Mooney advancing to the state championship game twice. The team lost to Coldwater, 28-27, in the 2007 OHSAA Division IV state championship game. Beachum ran for 191 yards on 34 carries (5.6 avg.) and assisted on four tackles. Cardinal Mooney won the 2006 OHSAA Division IV state championship, finishing 14-0. Beachum ran for 61 yards and scored a touchdown. On defense, he made seven tackles, recovered a fumble and returned an interception 34 yards. During his senior season, he ran for 1,525 yards, for an average of 117.3 per game. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry and scored 14 touchdowns, despite missing two games with an injury. He also recorded 22 solo tackles and assisted on 30 others, recording 2.5 sacks. Beachum attended Poland Seminary HS as a freshman and sophomore, where he played football and ran track. He also played basketball at Cardinal Mooney. Beachum graduated from high school in 3 ½ years.
And then there's this.
Beachum enrolled early for the spring semester this year allowing him to participate in spring practice and the Blue White game. For a true freshman he looked very good carrying the ball seven times for a game high 55 yards. He also caught two passes for 12 yards.
Chances of Playing This Year: Probably 50/50 at this point. Going into the spring I would have said he had a 75% chance of playing, but with the emergence of Stephfon Green and steady reports on Brent Carter I think the coaches are feeling pretty good about their situation at running back this year. Barring some injuries I think the coaches will want him to just focus on bulking up and learning the playbook.
Position: Defensive End
Hometown: Richland, NJ
Weight: 250 lbs
Bio: Born and raised in London, Crawford came to America in 2006 hoping to advance his basketball career and earn a college scholarship. The St. Augustine head football coach noticed the 6'6" 250 lb Crawford walking the hallways and said, "Son, you ever consider playing football?" Luckily he was able to convince Crawford to give it a shot. Even though he had never played the game before in his life, Crawford quickly figured out how to use his athletic ability to dominate as a tight end and defensive end. After finishing out his first season of football ever, Crawford quickly found himself holding 20 scholarship offers from schools like Penn State, Michigan, Pitt, Rutgers, and Boston College.
Chances of Playing This Year: Pretty good. Larry Johnson loves to rotate in as many guys as he can. It may be tough for him though. Although we've suffered some heavy losses on the defensive line of late, Baker, Taylor, and Still were all defensive tackles and Crawford is projected as a defensive end. But if Maurice Evans has a season similar to last years performance you can bet he'll go pro, so look for the coaches to try to develop someone to replace him in the rotation next year.
Position: Offensive Line
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Weight: 272 lbs
Farrell is an offensive line prospect with some upside. He has a good frame, but will need to get into a college weight program and add bulk. He will make good initial contact and gets solid hand placement. He moves his feet and displays the ability to generate push in the run game. He displays some tenaciousness and can be tough to beat once he gets locked on. Like many high school prospects he needs to watch his pad level and learn to play lower. He will also not consistently roll his hips on contact and generate power from his lower body and will get himself overextended. He moves well and can get up to the second level and get a piece of moving targets. He has a good motor. He moves his feet well and flashes the ability to be able to step and reach a defender. He is a solid pass blocker that needs to play with more knee bend. He will use his hands to punch and flashes the ability to mirror a rusher. Farrell needs to keep growing into his frame and keep developing his game. He comes across as a young man that could benefit from a red-shirt and some time to grow and learn.
Chances of Playing This Year: About as good as mine. No offense to the kid, but earning playing time as a true freshman offensive lineman is impossible at Penn State unless your name is Wisniewski. Farrell needs to add at least 20 lbs and improve his technique. A redshirt year will do him good.
Position: Defensive Back
Hometown: Celina, TX
Bio: D'Anton Lynn is a kid who knows how to win. In his senior year Lynn saw time at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker, safety, and cornerback in leading his team to the Class 3 AAA Texas State Championship. And Lynn played through pain in that championship game after falling awkwardly and breaking his shoulder on the first play of the game. This kid is tough as nails.
Chances of Playing This Year: Not bad. Lynn was the only defensive back we took in the last recruiting class. Justing King's departure left us a man shorter than we thought we would be. And with Scirrotto, Davis, Rubin, and Sargeant all graduating the time to start developing talent to replace them is now. Early reports from summer workouts are that Lynn looks the most physically ready to go of all the freshmen. Don't be surprised if the coaches work him in for some garbage time or even give him some meaningful snaps as the nickel back.
Position: Defensive Line
Hometown: Newtown Square, PA
Bio: As a junior Massaro recorded 53 tackles with 12 TFL and 5 sacks in earning second team Class AAA All-State honors. As a senior Massaro tallied 47 tackles and six sacks. His play on the football field earned him a spot in the prestigious Big 33 Game this spring. Pete was also a standout at wrestling and baseball for Marple Newtown. He is projected to play defensive tackle for the Nittany Lions.
Chances of Playing This Year: WIth all the losses to the defensive tackles in the past few weeks I guess it's possible. But in all likelyhood barring further injuries he will most likely be redshirted. He checked in this fall at only 250 lbs, so he will most likely need to put on 35 or 40 lbs in order to see playing time in the Big Ten. If he can't do it his career will most likely end up at defensive end.