We're halfway there, Penn Staters! 50 days and counting until kickoff, and former Nittany Lion offensive lineman Deon'Tae Pannell is our featured athlete today.
Pannell, a Michigan native, came to Penn State and had an immediate impact on the offensive line. One of several players over the years tagged as Levi Brown v.2.0, Pannell worked his way into the offensive line rotation as the rarest of rarities - a true freshman. During the first year of his career, the 6'5, 310 pounder backed up All-Big Ten performer Gerald Cadogan at left tackle and saw action in eight contests, include the Nittany Lions first game against Coastal Carolina. He was a key reserve for the 2008 Big Ten Championship squad led by Darryl Clark.
In 2009, Pannell was the consummate utility player, starting the first four games at tackle until an ankle injury forced him off the field. He was back for two games shortly thereafter, then moved to guard in place of the injured Johnnie Troutman. So it would go for the balance of his career - Pannell became comfortable and found a home at guard, playing well through his senior year. He graduated with a degree in Crime, Law and Justice in December 2011.
Now, Pannell has managed to keep himself football active. He's currently an assistant coach at Peru State College, an NAIA school in Nebraska. What position does Pannell coach?
Yes, the 6'5, 310 pound former offensive lineman coaches defensive backs. Congratulations, Deon'Tae, and thanks for making us all Penn State Proud!