Although there are still four games left in the 2022 season, Penn State offensive guard Hunter Nourzad announced early Tuesday morning that he would be utilizing his extra “COVID season” of eligibility by returning to Penn State for the 2023 season.
Nourzad came to Happy Valley last offseason after spending four years at Cornell. With the Big Red, Nourzad was a standout right tackle, earning All-Ivy League honors and becoming an FCS All-American during the 2021 season. Here at Penn State though, Nourzad has moved inside to guard where he’s gotten four starts at left guard since redshirt freshman Landon Tengwall went down with an injury. But even prior to Tengwall’s injury, Nourzad was seeing plenty of snaps — actually out-snapping Tengwall against Purdue, before Nourzad began to deal with some bumps and bruises of his own.
I was actually tweeting about the offensive line last night, and how if a couple dominoes fell in Penn State’s favor, the offensive line could legitimately push for one of the best in the Big Ten next season. One of those dominoes? If Hunter Nourzad would come back for his extra season, so certainly good news — albeit, odd timing — for the Nittany Lions today.
Looking ahead to 2023, there are still a lot of variables at play as far as what this offensive line will look like — Olu Fashanu’s decision, Juice Scruggs has an extra year, and even someone like Caedan Wallace who has played a lot of football here and might be ready for something else. With that being the case, it’s difficult to pinpoint where exactly Nourzad will be on the offensive line.
My guess would be that Juice Scruggs doesn’t take his sixth season, and Nourzad slides in nicely as the starting center, which I think is an intriguing spot for him. Beyond the cliches that he’s an Ivy League kid so he must be smart, he’s probably the most fluid mover among the interior options. Like we’ve seen with Scruggs this year, that’s a nice trait to have at center.