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Looking Ahead: Offensive Line

Which of the plug uglies return to anchor the offensive line in Happy Valley?


A way-too-early position preview series; included are scholarship and verbally committed Class of 2013 players, while run-on players have been left out of the previews.

Warm Bodies: Nate Cadogan (RS Sen.), Adam Gress (RS Sen.), Ty Howle (RS Sen.), Eric Shrive (RS Sen.), John Urschel (RS Sen.), Miles Dieffenbach (RS Jun.), Donovan Smith (RS Soph.), Angelo Mangiro (RS Soph.), Anthony Alosi (RS Soph.), Anthony Stanko (RS Fresh.), Wendy Laurent (RS Fresh.), Brendan Mahon (Fresh.), Andrew Nelson (Fresh.), Tanner Hartman (Fresh.)

Outlook: Losing two solid starters in Matt Stankiewitch and Mike Farrell will be tough to overcome, but Mac McWhorter, with an assist to Craig Fitzgerald, rotated upwards of 10 linemen in 2012.

The two guard spots should be all but locked up heading into spring practice. Both Urschel and Dieffenbach were solid all year, as the line as a whole allowed the offense to gain a respectable 417 yards of offense per game (good for 4th in the conference, and 54th in the nation).

On the outside of the line, Smith returns after a mostly promising redshirt freshman season, despite issues with injuries. Gress saw a decent amount of time at tackle in 2012, so should be able to fill in admirably for the departed Farrell.

In the middle of the line, the senior Howle will battle the promising sophomore Mangiro for the anchor spot (Mangiro could also push either of the guards for playing time, showcasing his valuable versatility).

Behind the projected starters is a mix of unproven promise and abject disappointment. Of the former, Alosi played sparingly in 2012, and six redshirt and true freshmen provide depth and a good look to the future. As for the latter, players like Cadogan and Shrive have one last chance to showcase the skills that many expected when they came to Penn State. Shrive played in 12 games last year, and should push for a similar amount of time, but with no starts under his belt, it's safe to say his career has not lived up to the five-star hype surrounding the young man five years ago.

Projected 2013 Depth Chart:

Smith Dieffenbach Howle Urschel Gress
Cadogan Stanko Mangiro Shrive Alosi
Nelson Mahon Laurent Hartman

Names to Watch: We finally get to a spot where the staff can use a couple of the limited Class of 2014 scholarships. With so few to hand out, and with the offensive skill positions relatively solid in terms of depth, the concentration will likely be on the lines, on both sides of the ball. So look for these names to be thrown about when the next class is forming: Andrew Mike (Sabino HS (Tuscon, AZ)), Sam Mustipher (Good Counsel HS (Olney, MD)), Bentley Spain (Providence HS (Charlotte, NC)), Quenton Nelson (Red Bank Catholic HS (Red Bank, NJ)), Alex "Brother of Brad" Bars (Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville, TN))

QB - RB/FB - WR - TE - OL - DT - DE - LB - DB - ST

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