Redshirt freshman Ryan ‘Monkey’ Monk was a preferred walk-on last season. He took a redshirt while working on his physique. The defensive tackle out of Dallas, Pa. has gained 21 pounds from his listed weight prior to joining the Lions. At 6’1”, 279 pounds, Monk has worked his way into consideration for playing time in the coming years.
The Daily Collegian’s Andrew Rubin took a close look at Monk prior to the blue-white game in April. Coach Franklin admitted that he has a man crush on Monk due to his work ethic. The former heavyweight wrestler had opportunities to compete on the mat at the next level, with consideration from Bloomsburg, Lehigh and Appalachian State. But when he got the chance to play football at Penn State, he jumped at the offer.
With the turnover on the front line the team is looking for depth and Monk’s name has been mentioned more than one would expect for a smallish walk-on defensive tackle. What Monk lacks in size he makes up for in technique and hustle. While many of us are planning on spending the holiday weekend at the beach, Monk and his teammates spent the week getting some beach-work.
Monk hopes to follow in the footsteps of former Penn State walk-on and 2016 Cleveland Brown third-round pick Carl Nassib. Like Nassib, Monk’s body needed work to get to the minimum required size to compete at the Big Ten level. His motor has never been a question. Monk will wear number 91 this season after donning 63 last year. There haven’t been many notable players that have worn 63 in recent years for Penn State, but nearly two decades ago Joe Iorio, a walk-on himself, earned the first start for a freshman non-scholarship player under Joe Paterno.
Only 63 days until Penn State football!