As we continue to barrel ahead toward a 2020 football season that may or may not even happen, we also continue to a number of annual traditions that come with the preseason countdown.
We’ve seen a number of Penn State players pop up on award watch lists, and now a quartet Nittany Lions have popped up on another list, Bruce Feldman’s annual list of the top athletic freaks in college football.
Feldman, who writes for The Athletic and will occasionally pop up on FOX as an analyst, has written the piece each summer for over a decade with the goal of “Spotlight(ing) the guys who generate buzz inside their programs by displaying the type of rare physical abilities that wow even those folks who are used to observing gifted athletes every day.”
Saquon Barkley was ranked No. 1 on this list entering his sophomore season and now Penn State finds an impressive four players on the list of 50.
Defensive end Jayson Oweh, who had 5.5 sacks last year and is expected by many to be a breakout star this season, topped the list of Nittany Lions at No. 4 in the nation.
“On a team with a lot of Freaks, this is the most explosive one of the bunch. The 6-5, 257-pound edge rusher didn’t get to go through winter workouts, but he’s in the top five based on his previous numbers and the word from inside the Nittany Lions program. Oweh (five sacks in 2019) has run a jaw-dropping 4.33 40, according to Penn State coaches. He also has vertical jumped 36 inches and broad jumped 10-7 to go with a pro agility time of 4.46, a 380-pound bench press and a 365-pound power clean. His body fat is 4.9 percent.”
Unsurprisingly, All-American linebacker Micah Parsons joins him on the list at No. 13. Parsons, considered by some to be the best defensive player in the nation in 2020, made 109 tackles and 14 tackles for loss a season ago and was even more impresive than Oweh when moving laterally, posting a pro agility test time of 4.24 and 6-foot-3, 245 pounds.
Coming in right behind Parsons at No. 15 was running back Journey Brown, who staked him claim as the starter in an absolutely loaded backfield with a monster performance in the Cotton Bowl.
Brown, who stands at 5-11, 216 pounds, has added power and agility to already impressive long speed. He holds the Pennsylvania high school state record for the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.43 and is a two-time champion in the event.
The last name on the list, somewhat surprisingly, is safety Jaquan Brisker. Brisker, who is entering his senior season after joining from Lackawanna County Community College in 2019, showed flashes of his athleticism a year ago.
The 6-1, 205-pound safety came in at No. 46 on the list and was praised for his explosiveness, something he showed flashes of a year ago. With Oweh and Parsons patrolling the front seven along with Brisker and Jim Thorpe Award watch list memeber Lamont Wade patrolling the secondary, Penn State fans and Brent Pry have a lot to look forward to in 2020.