By: Thomas Frank Carr
Penn State football enters 2017 with incredible expectations for their upcoming season. That all got started on Monday with their first practice of the year. The media were allowed to watch individual drills yesterday before the start of practice. Here are some random observations from my first glimpse of the team in Camp.
The full 2017 recruiting class was finally at practice and boy, do they stand out. Many years when freshman come into camp they look like….well freshman. Head coach James Franklin and his staff recruited some incredibly physically talented players this year. There were two players from the class in particular that stood out to me. Yetur Matos stands at 6-5, 242 pounds and looks like a fully grown man. With a deep crop of pass rushers in front of him, Matos likely won’t see much time but the first thing you say when you see him is ‘wow’. Franklin said this winter that Matos could be a surprise of the call,
“I know this sounds ridiculous but you say the sleeper of the class but he could be the sleeper of the class. I now he’s a four start recruit and all of that stuff, but he can to camp and ran one of the more ridiculous times that I’ve sever teemed a guy for the position he plays. He’s just gonna get bigger, stronger more explosive. He’s playing basketball. We’re really, really excited about him.”
When you see him in person, you can see why. Matos could be a legitimate 270 pound athlete in a couple of years, his frame looks big enough to fill out.
C.J. Thorpe leaves you with a similar feeling. After seeing offensive lineman over the past few years that looked more like power forwards than offensive lineman, Thorpe is what you expect to see in a lineman at 6-3, 323 pounds. His other characteristic, according to Franklin, is his demeanor.
“He’s got something that most coaches are looking for. He’s an offensive lineman with a nastiness to him. He plays with a really nasty demeanor. He wants to finish you. He wants to be physical, when you can find guys like that, that’s really valuable. When you look at this recruiting class, they all show that.”
Early enrollee Mike Miranda has already been impressing coaches and teammates to this point. Thorpe may be a bit farther behind him, but he’s got just as bright of a future at Penn State.
Barkley As Advertised
It’s shocking to be honest. We’ve all seen the videos of Barkley squatting or doing power cleans , but to see his legs in football action again is just downright amazing. When you look at his lower body thickness, even compared to his fellow running backs, it’s not even a contest.
We all got a taste of what Tommy Stevens can do with the ball during the Blue-White game this spring. In five minutes of watching him doing position drills on Monday, he reinforced the hype surrounding him this spring. His footwork is crisp and lightning quick. It’s going to be hard to keep him on the sideline much longer. Aside from just looking the part, Stevens throws a great ball. I would imagine they’ll have several packages for him this season. He’s too good of an athlete not to.