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Unlike years past, Penn State’s offensive line is looking like a strength in 2023

Heading into 2023, Penn State’s offensive line is looking better than ever.

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Penn State football, Penn State's offensive line
Nov 12, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar (15) gestures from the line of scrimmage during the third quarter against the Maryland Terrapins at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Maryland 30-0. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

It has been quite some time since the Nittany Lions have seen strong offensive line play — not decent, not serviceable, but a legitimately strong offensive line. Last year, the offensive line took a solid step in the right direction and got back to being ‘decent,’ which was enough to help Penn State football finish the season 11-2 overall with a Rose Bowl win and a No. 7 final ranking. This year, Penn State’s offensive line looks to take another step forward and boost the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten title and more.

Penn State’s offensive line looking to take the next step

With a rising star under center and an elite running back duo in the backfield, Penn State’s offensive line needs to step up now more than ever. A year ago, the Nittany Lions undoubtedly saw improvement; however, there were a few bumps in the road, such as Penn State’s 41-17 loss in Ann Arbor when the offense seemed to crash and burn completely.

With Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton both looking to improve heading into their second season in the Blue and White, the offensive line will be critical in Penn State’s rushing attack; additionally, former five-star quarterback Drew Allar is heading into his first season as a starter, and he too will need time and protection to thrive as a Nittany Lion.

“I think it is going to be exciting to see how our offensive line develops and how we grow as a unit,” senior offensive lineman Hunter Nourzad told the media on Tuesday evening. “You know, at [offensive line] it’s more about how all five of us perform rather than just one of us, so we like to focus on that.

Development happens off the field, not on the field

Most of the work that Penn State’s student-athletes put in goes unrecognized — what you see on the field is only the final result of countless hours of practice and hard work behind closed doors. From an on-field perspective, Penn State football is looking sharp, but the Nittany Lions are also performing well outside of the stadium.

“A big thing that I believe in is the way we act in unit meetings,” Nourzad said. “It’s interesting to see, I think that everybody is just thinking about plays on a deeper level. We can run a lot of our plays on a different front, we’re constantly asking questions about ‘when the defense does this, what’s our check? What are we doing?’ So seeing that, I think that the offensive line is operating at a really cerebral level.”

Iron sharpens iron along Penn State’s offensive line

One of the best traits that an offensive line can have is its depth. The college football season is long, and it can be brutal on your body in the Big Ten. Still, the Nittany Lions are in good hands regarding depth and competition along the offensive line this season; in fact, it is making the entire O-line room better ahead of the season.

“I think competition drives excellence,” Nourzad said when asked about the competition and depth in this year’s offensive line room. “I think that the competition in the room is making us all better as a whole, but it’s not causing any strife between players. It’s a super healthy environment where everybody is trying to help everybody — there is competition but it’s good.”

Additionally, according to Penn State star running back Kaytron Allen, Penn State’s offensive line is the best in the nation.

“It’s great having Olu [Fashanu] back,” Kaytron Allen told reporters on Tuesday when asked about his offensive line. “Even the whole O-line, like I said, I think we have the best O-line in the country.”



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New Penn State football commit says PSU can win national title

The newest Penn State football commit is gunning for a national title.

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Penn State football, Deryc Plazz, national title, 2024 recruiting class
Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin celebrates with the trophy on the podium after the Penn State Nittany Lions defeated the Utah Utes in the 109th Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Today, Penn State football made an exciting addition to its 2024 recruiting class by securing the commitment of three-star offensive tackle Deryc Plazz from Florida. Shortly after joining the team, Plazz expressed his bold aspirations for Penn State’s future, confidently proclaiming that the program is poised to claim a future national title and more.

A future national title for Penn State football?

Freshly committed to Penn State football, Deryc Plazz wasted no time in immersing himself in the pursuit of the team’s first national championship since 1986. This promising three-star prospect from Florida showcased his ambitious mindset by sharing his optimistic vision for the future of football in Happy Valley.

“The current class is amazing and it’s truly a blessing to be a part of something this special,” Plazz said, according to Steve Wiltfong. “Looking to load this class up and bring a Natty to Happy Valley.”

Deryc Plazz, Penn State gunning to go above and beyond in the years to come

Plazz doesn’t just want to win a national title during his time at Penn State football, he believes that the Nittany Lions are on track to do so in the near future.

“What’s most exciting about the program is that we’re on track to win a National Championship and that’s the purpose of playing,” Plazz continued. “The opportunity to win a National Championship was the biggest thing. Just knowing that we will constantly be competitive in the college football playoff while and with this 24 class loading up I know we will definitely win it.”

A glass ceiling that needs to break

Currently, Penn State football is showing promising signs of being a strong contender for the Big Ten title and a spot in the College Football Playoff this upcoming season. Preseason polls from various outlets consistently rank the Nittany Lions within the range of No. 5-10, which is well-deserved considering their impressive 11-2 record and Rose Bowl victory under the leadership of James Franklin last year.

However, many projections still anticipate Penn State falling short against formidable opponents like Michigan and Ohio State, which would likely result in another New Year’s Six bowl appearance for the team.

While such a season would still be commendable, as being a top 10 program is an achievement in itself, it is encouraging to see the aspirations of Deryc Plazz and the rest of the 2024 recruiting class. Their desire to strive for greater success in the Blue and White during their tenure is a positive indicator of the program’s ambitions and the determination of its players, commits, and the team’s culture in the years to come.



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Penn State WR KeAndre Lambert-Smith joins PA-based sports talent firm

The Penn State WR is the third Nittany Lion to sign with the firm since May.

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Penn State WR KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Penn State Football, PA sports talent firm
Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith (1) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Utah Utes in the 109th Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, it was announced that Penn State WR KeAndre Lambert-Smith had signed with Inch & Co. Sports, a new PA-based sports talent firm. Lambert-Smith becomes the third Penn State football player to sign with the firm in the last month. The founders of Inch & Co. Sports, John and Jeff Inch, and their larger network of PA-based companies, have become increasingly involved in Penn State’s NIL and athlete representation landscape over the last year.

KeAndre Lambert-Smith signs with PA-based sports talent firm

On Saturday evening, Inch & Co. Sports announced via its social media pages that the organization had signed KeAndre Lambert-Smith. The Penn State WR is coming off a budding end to the 2022 season, where he hauled in 8 catches for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Nittany Lions’ final two games. Reporting out of spring practice indicated that Lambert-Smith had separated himself from the pack of Penn State receivers.

“He’s been really good so far this spring,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said. “We need him to be THE guy, a true number one [receiver], not just at Penn State but really in the [Big Ten] and a guy that people are talking about nationally.”

Inch & Co. Sports establishes itself in the Penn State football NIL landscape

Inch & Co. Sports is a York County, PA-based sports talent firm. The company’s founders, brothers John and Jeff Inch, are credited with starting “one of the fastest growing real estate construction companies in the U.S.” According to the firm’s website, its mission is “Representing our athletes with integrity and originality…Whether it’s giving back to the underprivileged, monetizing their image, or guiding them through a professional decision; building trust through honesty is our goal.”

KeAndre Lambert-Smith is the third Penn State football player to sign with the organization since May. The firm first signed QB Beau Pribula, who was a standout at York Central High School, on May 16. Inch & Co. added CB Johnny Dixon later in the month.

Over the last several months, the Inch & Co. network of companies has been establishing itself in the Penn State NIL landscape. In December, the company made headlines when it provided Teslas via a NIL partnership to four Nittany Lions – QB Drew Allar, LB Abdul Carter, CB Kalen King, and OT Olu Fashanu. Pribula was added to the partnership several weeks later.



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New Penn State football quarterback set to enroll early next spring

New Penn State football quarterback commit Ethan Grunkemeyer is set to enroll early next spring.

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New Penn State football quarterback commit
© Joseph Scheller/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

All Blue and White fans are clamoring about new Penn State football quarterback commit Ethan Grunkemeyer, who committed to the Nittany Lions late last month. Now, new reports are suggesting that Penn State’s new quarterback intends to enroll in the university early next spring and get extra time with the team and coaching staff ahead of the 2024 season.

Ethan Grunkemeyer set to enroll early

Ethan Grunkemeyer has been a heavily discussed topic among Penn State football fans. At first, a number of fans and talking heads jumped to conclusions, all voicing disappointment due to his three-star rating. However, upon closer observation, it becomes clear that this new 2024 QB may turn into something special as time goes on.

Grunkemeyer, like Drew Allar, committed to Penn State as a three-star but is expected to become a four-star or even better when all is said and done. In fact, Grunkemeyer earned a bid in State College last month and will be competing with the nation’s top quarterbacks at the Elite 11 finals.

“I’m just really excited to be surrounded by great people — Coach Franklin, Coach Yurcich, Coach [Danny] O’Brien,” Grunkemeyer told 247 Sports in a recent podcast interview. “I’ve built a really good relationship with all those guys. And I know Drew, and he loves his experience there so far. So I’m really happy where I landed, and I’m really excited to start to work with those guys.”

Penn State football has something special with new 2024 quarterback

According to the most recent composite rankings, Penn State football quarterback commit Ethan Grunkemeyer remains a three-star recruit. He is currently ranked as the No. 751 recruit in the nation, the No. 46 quarterback in the 2024 class, and the No. 24 recruit in the state of Ohio. While he may not be the highest-ranked recruit in Penn State’s class, the Nittany Lions have a special player with a bright future ahead of them.



Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at basicbluesnation@gmail.com or direct message us on our social media. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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