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Penn State Preseason Top 10 for 2018: #7 Connor McGovern

We continue our annual top ten preseason football players of 2018 list as voted on by the BSD staff. In creating this list, we considered players’ abilities, value to the team and past performance, among other factors. 

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

How He Got Here:

Connor McGovern, #8 on BSD’s 2017 preseason top ten list, hits our BSD list again this year at #7, with good reason. He’s the most experienced anchor at center of what will be one of the most experienced and talented offensive lines under James Franklin.

McGovern, a Pennsylvania-born lineman out of Lake Lehman High School, was a four-star recruit and rated as one of the top centers in the country, a solid get for James Franklin.

As an early enrollee as a freshman in 2016, McGovern had plenty of time to condition, which helped him land a starting spot at right guard as a true freshman. His hard work paid off in other ways, including an All-Big Ten Freshman honorable mention by BTN after he helped Penn State post 599 total yards of offense in the Nittany Lion’s 41-14 win over Iowa. McGovern was the first Nittany Lion offensive lineman to earn Big Ten weekly honors, and just the third lineman to win in Big Ten history.

As a sophomore, McGovern moved to the starting slot at center for 2017, starting all 13 games, helping the offense finish seventh in FBS in scoring offense (41.1) and 19th in total offense (460.3). In 2017, Penn State’s offense broke the school record for points scored (534) and finished second in program history in yards per play (6.58) and total offense yards (5.984).

What to Expect in 2018:

What does McGovern says he expects for 2018? He’s certain this is the year of the offensive line, and boldly expects the line to dominate and lead the entire Nittany Lion offense.

I’m not going to argue with an offensive lineman (that would be stupid), especially when he’s 6’5”, put on weight up to 326 lbs., and is a returning two-year starter on a line with near equal strength and depth. Ryan Bates, Steven Gonzalez and Will Fries join McGovern as starters, along with (most likely) Michal Menet. Plus, the line will have backups on the roster that make for one of the deepest offensive lines in years.

McGovern’s efforts in 2017 should translate to success this season and are already getting him noticed. He’s already earned a spot on the Athlon Sports preseason All-Big Ten team and a mention on the watch list for the Rimington trophy, the honor awarded to the nation’s top center. Penn State fans should expect to see more accolades roll in over the year for McGovern.

James Franklin is excited, too and is relying on his three-year starting center to make it happen:

Does that mean Penn State fans should expect to see Connor McGovern slide back to guard?

He certainly has the skills and the line has the depth to slot others into the center position (like Michal Menet, if you’d like to entertain some speculation from Penn Live).

But the Nittany Lion faithful will just have to wait until September 1 to find out for sure.