The interior of Penn State’s offensive line got a bit of a boost earlier today, as Harvard offensive guard Eric Wilson announced that he will be graduate transferring to Penn State once he graduates from Harvard this spring.
A lot can happen in a few months, especially in 2020. Unexpected changes have led me to commit to Penn State where I will play for the Nittany Lions as a grad transfer next year. Looking forward to getting to Happy Valley and working with @CoachTrautFB ! #10000menofharvard #WeAre pic.twitter.com/RRqDNb2QZX— Eric Wilson (@ejwilson38) January 27, 2021
The 6-foot-4 Wilson is listed as 280 pounds on Harvard’s website, but since he has entered the transfer portal, that has been updated to 315 pounds. Which, as you can imagine, 35 pounds is going to make a difference in the outlook on Wilson’s potential impact in Happy Valley.
Wilson was clearly impressive during his stint in Cambridge, earning second-team All-Ivy League honors in 2019 after starting all 10 games at left guard. Wilson was poised to have a strong 2020 season — Phil Steele had him on his preseason first-team All-Ivy League and four-team All-FCS team — until the Crimson’s season was cancelled due to COVID.
When that happened, Wilson wasted no time, entering the transfer portal and committing to the Auburn Tigers. Once Gus Malzahn was canned though, Wilson backed off his pledge to the Tigers, which allowed for Penn State to swoop in and steal him from its 2021 foe.
As you can see above, Wilson has his highlights from Harvard on YouTube. There’s just over 13 minutes of snaps, so you can get a good idea of what Penn State is getting.
Overall, the Nittany Lions are adding someone who should factor into the starting gigs on the interior. I mean, I don’t necessarily think Wilson was promised a starting spot, but he isn’t transferring here unless he has a good idea that he’ll likely be a starter. There’s a lot to like about Wilson’s game. Granted, these are highlights, but he’s pretty technically sound and consistent. Big kid that should fit in physically in the Big Ten. Moves his feet well and looks coordinated; shows a sturdy base even when at the second level.
Obviously, you’d like to see him dominate a bit more. I’m not sure there’s much of anything that he is clearly elite at. That’s not to say Wilson is a bad player — you don’t get the green light as a grad transfer at Auburn and Penn State if you can’t play — but when taking an FCS player, you’d wish to see a little more pop.
All in all, a good move for Penn State that should at the very least shore up most concerns about the depth on the interior of the offensive line. Wilson has plenty of experience as a two-year starter, was making serious strides as a true junior, and was expected to be one of the best offensive linemen at the FCS level. You’d obviously prefer that he’d be on campus for the winter and spring as well, but getting him in for the early summer so Dwight Galt has some time with him should still be beneficial too. Plus, Wilson will also have two years of eligibility, so there’s even the chance he sticks around for 2022.