The second linebacker we’re profiling today, Nyeem Wartman-White was a four-year starter at Penn State, but injuries to his knees cut the last two (and three of the last five) seasons short - this past season after only two full games.
NWW came to PSU in Bill O’Brien’s first class, having committed before IT and sticking through with his commitment (despite a mild flirtation with Rutgers) after the sanctions were handed down. He saw time on special teams immediately as a freshman - unsurprising for a player who came in with a ton of versatility - and made an immediate impact, blocking a punt in that unexpected defeat for the Lions. Wartman saw time again the next week, against Virginia, before suffering a season-ending injury that led to his redshirt of that year.
In 2013, NWW started eight games, seeing time in all twelve; he followed that up in 2014 with starting 12 of the team’s 13 games, and finishing second on the team in tackles (75 total). The hype was great for the linebacker headed into his redshirt junior season in 2015, looking for him to be a leader on a team coming off its first bowl win in years. Instead, he lasted less than a half in the game, suffering a season-ending injury in the second quarter against Temple - and his absence was felt immediately in that game.
Unfortunately, 2016 was much of the same. Temple proved to be Wartman-White’s kryptonite, as he had been heading into the game coming off a career-high nine tackles at Pitt. He elected to not petition the NCAA for a sixth season of playing time, and instead is entering the draft.
Still recovering from his latest injury, NWW didn’t show off too much at Penn State’s pro day; he performed the bench press, where he logged 17 reps, weighed in at 245 pounds and measured 6’1”. He also participated in the linebacker drills.
What You’re Getting
A deal. Wartman-White likely won’t hear his name called in Philly (he’s projected as a top thirty player at inside linebacker), but he’s too talented to not get some looks by pro teams in training camp - if not an Undrafted Free Agent contract.
When not injured, NWW had been super athletic, and a leader on the field - he’s the first one who vocalized to the media, pre-season, that the team would be vying for a Big Ten Championship (and was looked at incredulously).
He’s logged fairly high forty times for a linebacker, and has had a lot of versatility in his career - he was recruited and played on the outside at Penn State, but projects to the interior at the next level. He’s a smart player on the field with an adeptness in pass coverage - and he’s big enough to take on NFL tight ends and running backs who are good at pass catching out of the backfield. He should make a special teams coordinator very happy, and would likely contribute mostly (at least at first) in that section of the game.