Godwin seems destined for a big NFL career, and will make one lucky GM look very smart.
Considering the success he had throughout his career at Penn State, his measurables and his overall skillset, it’s surprising Godwin wasn’t snatched up earlier in the draft. However, he seems destined to make a name for himself in the NFL and could blossom into a true standout in the near future.
Godwin had his breakout game for Penn State in the 2014 Pinstripe Bowl, scorching a talented BC defense for 140 yards on seven catches, including a memorable 72-yard touchdown grab. From then on, Godwin was the main target in the Penn State passing game for Christian Hackenberg and Trace McSorley.
Godwin has the speed to stretch the field, but also has the size and fearlessness to go over the middle to keep the chains moving when needed. He may do his best work in traffic, using his strength and ball skills to go up and make the catch. Godwin also has exceptional hands, rarely, if ever, dropping a pass within his reach.
Congratulations, Chris! Here’s hoping for a long and memorable NFL career.
I am blessed to say I have committed to penn state university ⚪️ ! pic.twitter.com/AAS0jSXYQQ— jamari wheeler (@jamariwheeler5) April 28, 2017
Jamari Wheeler, ladies and gentlemen!
Jamari Wheeler committed to Duquesne in September of 2016 and stayed committed until March 30 of 2017, after the news that coach Jim Ferry would not return. Wheeler immediately received interest from several schools, and had been taking visits regularly until he announced his commitment. Auburn was viewed as one of the favorites to land the point guard, but Wheeler suddenly announced on twitter that he’d canceled his visit to the Tigers shortly after having taken his visit to Penn State and Seton Hall.
Without a backup for Tony Carr, Wheeler stands to get a lot of playing time from the get go as a Nittany Lion. There isn’t much film on Wheeler, but from what’s available, he seems to possess the kinds of attributes Pat Chambers values in his players. Wheeler likes to drive to the basket, isn’t afraid to play defense, and shares the ball when he sees an open teammate with a better shot.
His presence will will further allow guys like Shep Garner the ability to play off the ball more often, and ensure Garner and Carr aren’t playing over 35 minutes a game all the time. Not to mention, his ball handling ability will be welcome on a team that, progress notwithstanding, needs to spread the ball more while cutting on turnovers.
Welcome to Penn State, Jamari!
Our NFL draft series moves on with the center, captain and leader of the offensive line
Starting out at the Gilman School in Maryland, Brian Gaia was a three-time all-state selection who was a captain of both the offensive and defensive lines who helped lead his team to three Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association Class A titles. Recruited by then defensive coach Larry Johnson, and one of the members of Bill O’Brien’s first Penn State team, Gaia assumed he’d play for the Nittany Lions on the defensive line.
Gaia did indeed start his redshirt freshman season in 2013, playing in all 12 games at defensive tackle and special teams. After being recognized by the Penn State coaching staff during spring ball in 2014, he was named the recipient of the Red Worrell Award, given to the offense’s most improved player.
In 2014, with the arrival of head coach James Franklin, and with a need for experience on the offensive line, Gaia moved to right offensive guard, starting every game in that spot as a sophomore. 2015 brought Gaia 13 starts in 13 games, making him the only Penn State offensive lineman to start every game that year.
For his final 2016 season, Gaia was named captain and made yet another move to center, a position he’d never played. As it turned out, Brian Gaia was the only thing that remained consistent on the offensive line in 2016, and the only offensive line player to play in the same position the entire 2016 season. With a dearth of injuries and inexperienced players filling slots midway through the fall, Gaia kept the offensive line together and focused, enabling Trace McSorely, Saquon Barkley and Chris Godwin to pull off record-breaking offensive performances in the Big Ten Championship game.
In Brian Gaia’s final game at the Rose Bowl, he finished having made more starts than any Penn State teammate.
You’re getting a leader and stabilizing force on and off the field, who has a willingness and ability to be versatile and slide into positions where he’s most needed.
Gaia has made it clear he wants to remain in the center position, and is hoping to get noticed. At 6’3”, 295, he’s not the biggest or fastest, but makes up for it in leadership. That said, it’s not certain if that versatility and leadership will translate into the NFL.
2017-04-27T20:36:48-04:00Garrett Carr and his group message friends break down the NFL Draft like only they can 11:41: GOOOD Draft for San Fran! They got two top five talents and two extra picks. Nice work. 11:37: After that touching tribute to Dan Rooney, the Steelers with the worst pick of the whole draft. TJ Watt isn’t that good. He isn’t NFL Starting caliber. His Jockstrap still lays on the 15 yard line of Lucas Oil Stadium from what Saquon did to him. But his brother is pretty good! 11:29: With their 37th first rounder of the draft, the Browns take Miami TE David Njoku. He will be a great weapon for Sam Darnold in 2018. 11:24: Taco Charlton to the Cowboys which is fine but with Foster on the board I wish they would’ve pulled the trigger there. Cowboys do need pass rush though. 11:18: Tre’Davious White to the Bills. This seems like the first pick the bills made that wasn’t flashy in the first round in awhile. 11:09: I really like McKinley for Atlanta. Toughest thing for any offense in this league to do is block two dominant pass rushers for 40 dropbacks a game like they will have to against Super Bowl Champion Atlanta. 11:04: I love Jabrill Peppers. I think he’s a perennial Pro Bowler because he can play anywhere well. That being said, is Ryan spoiling the draft for us now? 11:01: Ryan thinks Jabrill is going to the Browns 10:55: OF COURSE the Raiders pick a dude with character concerns. That being said, I believe him, and it’s a pretty good pick. Gareon Conley can cover. 10:51: The more I think about it, my goodness how is anyone supposed to cover NYG. Good luck, Philly! 10:49: Giants take TE/WR Evan Engram. Honestly, if Eli’s arm stays attached to his shoulder, which is a big IF, they’ve got quite the weapons. 10:42: Dolphins take Charles Harris. Cool. Exactly how bad was the crime Reuben Foster committed? 10:40: Lions draft Jarrad Davis. He will be an above average 4-3 LB in the NFL. That is all 10:32: The Broncos took a dude that got kicked out of five schools before he turned his life around. Assuming his life has turned around, that’s exactly the kind of guy I want protecting my franchise QB of Trevor Siemian Paxton Lynch Tony Romo 10:29: OJ Howard to the Bucs! As a Jameis Winston Stan, the league better watch it. This is bad for pass defenses ever. This keeps a safety underneath so that Mike Evans can run that beautiful deep post. I’m pumped. Jameis Winston MVP 2017. 10:22: Tennessee takes Adoree Jackson, who appears to have recovered from the 3rd degree burns that Chris Godwin cruelly gave him at the Rose Bowl. 10:18: We will tell our grandkids about how DAN FREAKING SNYDER outsmarted the Eagles to get the second best player in the draft at pick 17 while the Eagles picked a poor man’s Kony Ealy a few picks earlier. 10:16: Jonathan Allen gets to play for Dan Snyder. Unreal. Sometimes good things happen to bad people, or vice versa depending if you’re Allen or Snyder. 10:08: I remember telling Matt earlier in the year that I thought Marlon Humphrey would be a true shutdown corner in the NFL. Then I watched him try to chase around Mike Williams and some random dude chosen from a Clemson fraternity unsuccessfully for a game and I backed off. However, he still has potential here for Baltimore at #16. Also shout out to the Make A Wish recipient fist pumping the pick. We need more of that. 10:05: Ryan: “ Washington is drafting without a GM who they canned because he didn't get along with the jackass owner. Then they're still using the GMs draft board.” Ladies and Gentlemen your 2017 Washington Redskins!! 10:00: Colts take Malik Hooker, which is the first good thing they’ve done in a very long time. Also, hot take time, Hooker will be the best player in the draft. 9:59: 9:55: Me: thoughts on the pick Matt? Matt: I can’t give them. they are rather explicit. 9:53: Naw. They didn’t do that. I couldn’t have dreamt of a worse pick. They know he does not cover people right? The[...]
Our NFL Draft series continues with an under-the-radar defensive end.
Evan Schwan had an interesting journey to Penn State. During his junior season at Central Dauphin, Schwan suffered a back injury that caused all of his major suitors to back off....except for Penn State. Schwan bounced back in a big way as a senior, recording 17 sacks. Impressed with the loyalty demonstrated by the Penn State coaching staff, Schwan decided to head to State College and join the Nittany Lions.
After taking a redshirt season in 2012, Schwan received playing time as a redshirt freshman and then gradually saw his role increase as he worked his way up the depth chart each season.
Schwan was able to earn a starting spot as a senior on the opposite side of fellow defensive end and NFL Draft hopeful Garrett Sickels. He made the most of his opportunity, finishing with by-far his most productive season at Penn State. Schwan recorded 31 tackles, eight TFLs, 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble, earning him a spot on the third-team all Big Ten squad as well as the Reid-Robinson Award as the team’s best defensive lineman.
While Schwan may not hear his name called during the draft, there’s still good reason to believe he could find his way on an NFL roster in the fall. At 6-6 and 263 lbs., Schwan has outstanding size that the NFL desires for its defensive ends. He showed improvement during each season at Penn State, and still has the potential to continue to greatly improve at the next level. He also has all the intangibles needed to succeed at the next level- he’s a coachable, intelligent player who will do whatever is asked of him and plays to the whistle each play.
Schwan does not have the speed needed to become a top-flight pass rusher, but does everything well across the board, especially in regards to run support. He regularly made plays in the second half, getting stronger as the game went on for the most part. Schwan will get an opportunity either as a late round pick or undrafted free agent. With the right situation, Schwan could develop into a steady NFL player for years to come.
2017-04-26T09:41:01-04:00Next up in our drafted series is a senior linebacker whose out to prove to scouts that he can bounce back from injury. The Skinny 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. Draft Profile [...]
Our NFL Draft series continues with one of the more underrated linebackers at Linebacker-U.
Unlike previous No. 11’s, Brandon Bell came to Happy Valley with little fanfare. He didn’t land a scholarship from the Nittany Lions until late-May 2012, and being a mid-three-star prospect, there was little buzz when Bell committed to the program just a couple weeks later. But it didn’t take long for Bell to make an impact in the Blue & White, as he played a back-up role as a freshman, totaling 24 tackles and forcing a fumble.
Bell was a starter for his final three seasons in Happy Valley, racking up an additional 200 tackles in the process. His finest season (unsurprisingly) was in 2016 where Bell played his best football during the biggest moments of the season — Ohio State (18 tackles and 1 sack) and Wisconsin (13 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 leap).
Bell’s an interesting case because there really isn’t really a lot he can’t do as a linebacker. He’s shown that he’s at his best when attacking the line of scrimmage, but he’s more than capable to drop back into coverage as well. He’s a bit undersized at 6-foot-1-ish, 229 pounds, but is a solid enough athlete to make up for it. Yes, there might be concerns that he doesn’t do one thing extremely well, but there are very few holes in his game, which is what some organizations are looking for in the later rounds.
Bell’s biggest issue might be his durability. While he never missed significant time because of an injury, it seemed like Bell was always hobbled — in 2014 his missed three games, in 2015 he missed two games, and in 2016 he missed another four games. When he was on the field, there was no question Bell was one of he very best linebackers in the conference, but the concerns of if he can stay healthy at the next level are legitimate.
2017-04-26T07:10:01-04:0020 Nittany Lions take the mat to be best in the USA It’s time, friends. You’ve had a full month to recover from the ecstasy of yet another Penn State Wrestling national championship (those never get old, do they?). Next, get ready to watch the US Open. Twenty (20) Penn State Nittany Lions - past, present, and future - take the mats in Las Vegas this week to be crowned best in the US of A, land of the free, home of the brave. HOW TO WATCH WHAT: the US Open WHEN: Greco on Wednesday/Thursday (4/26 - 4/27); Freestyle on Friday/Saturday (4/28 - 4/29) WHERE: Las Vegas, NV VIDEO: FloWrestling (must be a subscriber; $150 per year - I think Flo kilt the monthly option, but I’m not certain). RADIO WAVES: none that I’m aware of. DESPERATE MEASURES: TrackWrestling will run it’s “mat cast” scoreboard thing; also expect USA Wrestling to upload a ton of match highlights and interviews to YouTube. First on the mat will be incoming PSU freshman Mason Manville, aka “the Anvil”, aka “the halo kid”, who’s competing in Greco at the Senior level, 75kg (165.3 lbs). You know him already for one or more things: a) his top-10 overall recruit ranking; b) deferring his enrollment at PSU to train at the national Oly training center in Colorado Springs; c) his Cadet world medals (in both freestyle and greco); d) joining Army ROTC; and/or e) having his head taped up for every match, because he uses his face as a weapon. Take your pick - lots of things to like with this new 2017-edition Nittany Lion. This will be Mason’s first competition (that we get to watch) since the 2016 World Team Trials (where he made the semis), so we’re pretty excited to see him back out there. Plus, unlike last year’s Team Trials, his 2017 Open bracket won’t feature Geordan Speiller (80kg), Kendrick Sanders (71kg), Chaney Haight (80kg), or Andy Bisek, who’s rumored to have retired. Expect big things from Mason. Then, on Friday, the Nittany Lion fur really starts to fly. Juniors and Seniors freestyle gets fought at the same time - a smorgasbord of elite, high-scoring, fast-paced wrestling action. Here’s a quick rundown of your Penn Staters (past, present, and future): Junior-55kg (121.2lbs): Gavin Teasdale (2018 recruit), Devin Schnupp (2016/17 FR) Senior-57kg (125.6lbs): Nico Megaludis (2016 National Champ), Roman Bravo-Young (2018 recruit) Junior-60kg (132.2lbs): Mason Lindenmuth (2016/17 FR) Senior-61kg (134.5lbs): Jordan Conaway (2015-2016 All-American) Junior-63kg (138.9lbs): Nick Lee (2017 recruit), Brian Friery (2016/17 FR) Senior-65kg (143.3lbs): Frank Molinaro (2012 National Champ, 2016 Olympic Team), Zain Retherford (2016-2017 National Champ) Junior-66kg (145.5lbs): Bo Pipher (2016/17 FR) Junior-70kg (154.3lbs): Joe Lee (2018 recruit) Senior-70kg (154.3lbs): Jason Nolf (2017 National Champ) Junior-74kg (163.1lbs): Mark Hall (2017 National Champ) Senior-74kg (163.1lbs): Matt Brown (2015 National Champ), Dan Vallimont (2010 National Runner Up) Senior-86kg (189.6lbs): David Taylor (he’s David freaking Taylor), Bo Nickal (2017 National Champ) Junior-120kg (264.5lbs): AJ Nevills (brother of Nick and Seth; probably has a ton of PSU t-shirts at this point) That’s a whole lotta Lions - which speaks to one reason why potential recruits might want to join PSU. Twenty Lions. (For comparison, Okie State has around 10 total, and Iowa just 4 among the seniors.) NLWC ought to make a “got partners?” t-shirt. Anyhow - give a little coin to Flo if you haven’t done so already, and watch our guys. You can cancel later, and you’ll get a refund of the unused months - meaning this week’s action only costs you $20, not a full-year’s $150. (Ehh, probably. Perhaps. This is not an endorsement of Flo, nor a guarantee of their service. Caveat Emptor. Individual results may vary. Good luck. Tape your laces. And ha[...]