Welcome to Black Shoe Diaries' coverage of National Signing Day 2016. Our goal is to make sure that you know everything you need to know about every member of Penn State's 2016 recruiting class, including what fans should expect from them, some highlight tape and more. We truly appreciate you taking the time to follow along with our coverage of all things Penn State recruiting-related over the past year, and we can't wait to continue to ramp up our coverage for 2017. So whether you've been reading the site for years, or a first-time reader who just stumbled upon Black Shoe Diaries, we hope you stick around.
To read up on all of the other members of the 2016 recruiting class, simply head back to the main draft board, where recruits will be added as their official letters of intent roll in.
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The big offensive tackle out of New Jersey is officially a Nittany Lion. After committing to Penn State in June, Fries was contacted several times by Michigan in an attempt to woo him to Ann Arbor, but he stood firm in his commitment to the Nittany Lions. Fries joins early enrollee Alex Gellerstedt as the only true offensive tackles in the 2016 class, and will look to begin working towards shoring up a shaky Penn State offensive line as soon as possible.
The Lions of Scrimmage grow stronger! Welcome to the family, Will Fries. #WeAre #PSUSigningDay pic.twitter.com/fDAo5oDrLT— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) February 3, 2016
|High School||Cranford (Nj.)|
|Positional Rank||#41 offensive tackle, #11 player in New Jersey|
|Commitment Date||June 9, 2015|
Fries has the build to grow into a dominant tackle, but also has the versatility to line up at a guard spot in the future if need be. He plays with a lot of power and isn't one to leave a block unfinished. As seen in the video above, he's frequently found still pushing his man off the ball, ten yards downfield after the play has ended. The ability to force his man into the next level of the defense is something that Penn State surely craved when they first saw tape on Fries. He won't be able to dominate college linemen the way he does high schoolers (at least, not right away), but the ability and the drive are there for Fries.
Unlike classmates Connor McGovern and Michal Menet, Fries will likely need a redshirt year to continue to bulk up for the college game, especially if the staff wants to keep him outside at the tackle spot. Fries will be able to spend time on the scout team, getting valuable reps against the many talented edge rushers that the Nittany Lions are bringing in. Going against guys like Shane Simmons, Daniel Joseph, Shaka Toney and Cameron Brown every day in practice will only help prepare Will that much more for some of the dominant defensive ends the Big Ten has to offer.
Though it may take a few years, Fries has more than enough ability to challenge for a starting spot along Penn State's offensive line. It may only be a matter of time.