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James Franklin predicts ‘huge year’ for Penn State football defender off setback 2023 season

After a setback year in 2023, James Franklin thinks Amin Vanover is going to have a “huge year” for Penn State football this fall.



Penn State football, James Franklin, Amin Vanover
Penn State defensive end Amin Vanover comes down with an interception during the Blue-White game at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, April 13, 2024, in State College. The White team defeated the Blue team, 27-0.

The first portion of the 2024 calendar is in the books for Penn State football, with the Blue-White Game wrapping up spring practice for the Nittany Lions on Saturday afternoon. While the spring game is usually an opportunity for the younger members on the roster to shine, it was a defensive veteran who earned a shoutout from James Franklin this weekend. Following the Blue-White festivities, Franklin touted the progress of Amin Vanover, and predicted a “huge year” out of the Nittany Lion defensive end. 

James Franklin praises effort, progress of Amin Vanover

Defense flashed early and often for the White team in Penn State football’s annual intrasquad scrimmage, holding the Blue team to 69 total yards and no points in a dominating 27-0 win on Saturday. 

Even with the defensive-driven performance, the play of senior defensive end Amin Vanover stood out from the crowd. The 6-4, 262-pound Newark native tallied two tackles and a sack. He also flashed his ball skills by hauling in one of the White squad’s two interceptions on the afternoon.

The outing caught the eye of James Franklin, who gave Vanover a shoutout in his opening statement following the game.

“I think Amin Vanover is a pretty cool story for us. I think he’s going to have a huge year for us,” Franklin said. “He’s a guy, in my opinion, who’s done it the right way. It hasn’t always been easy for him or us. His journey has been challenging at times, and he’s really stuck it out and just got better and better and better. I’m really proud of Amin.”

Veteran Penn State defender says it’s all starting to pay off

It’s been a long and winding road to this point for Amin Vanover. In his first two seasons with the Nittany Lions, Vanover appeared in eight games, posting seven tackles. His most productive season was 2022, where he appeared in all 13 games, making 16 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss. 

But last fall was a setback for Vanover. Still in a backup role, he was in and out of the lineup, only playing in eight games. His production dropped as well, only recording six tackles and a forced fumble. 

Amin Vanover admits that his Penn State football career got off to a slow start. But now in year four, the massive edge rusher says everything is starting to click.

“I’ve been very coachable in my process. I was like, what you call, a slow learner when I first got [to Penn State],” Vanover told Frank Bodani of the York Daily Record after the Blue-White Game. “But as I pick up more and more and learn from the older guys, it’s been real good.

“The work I put in is just starting to show. I put in extra time during the offseason, even this spring, just waking up early, doing extra work on my own. It’s just all starting to pay off.”

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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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