We all saw how the Penn State football team was led in part by quarterback Matt McGloin.
What made McGloin’s rise to a starting quarterback and leader of the offense so special was where the quarterback began his college career. He started from the bottom and worked his way from walk-on playing on the practice squad to starter.
With the scholarship restrictions placed on head coach Bill O’Brien’s team, he will need to rely heavily on what he calls “run-ons."
This season will be the beginning of Penn State’s adventure that will rely on these walk-on players.
So let’s check out which freshman walk-ons will become household names.
Standing at 6’4” and 250 pounds, Evan Galimberti is a towering player being added to the defensive line.
Out of State College Area High School, he received offers from Bucknell, Holy Cross, Penn and Wofford. Just by his size, Galimberti fits the mold of a defensive tackle with a big frame.
What he will need to do is add weight and muscle, because 250 pounds won’t be enough for Galimberti to push other linemen around.
He will be coached by one of the best in Larry Johnson on the defensive line. Galimberti has a bright future.
Unfortunately for Penn State fans, the name Sam Ficken became a household name for all the wrong reasons. The kicker’s struggles were well documented and affected the team so much that O’Brien went for it on fourth down more often than not.
Chris Gulla will now be in the equation competing for both the kicker and punter positions in his freshman season. He was a four-year starter at Toms River North in New Jersey, where he earned All-State honors in his senior season.
The young kicker had interest from strong schools such as Miami (Fla.) and Georgia Tech amongst others.
The arrival of Gulla can be a welcome change for Penn State fans, and he has a chance to become a four-year starter in Happy Valley.
Coming into Penn State, Von Walker draws similarities to the New England Patriots hybrid back Danny Woodhead.
Walker told reporters that O’Brien has said he hopes to use Walker as a slot-style back.
Out of Central Mountain High School, Walker rushed for more than 1,500 yards in his senior season and was named to the Class AAAA All-State team in Pennsylvania.
Walker possesses quickness and elusiveness—both are great qualities for a hybrid slot running back.
At 6’0” and 195 pounds, Walker is looking to be one of the best possible candidates to make a large impact in Happy Valley.