College Football 2011: 6 Penn State Freshmen Ready for Immediate Impact
Coming off a disappointing 7-6 2010 season, Penn State football is looking to once again rise back to the top of the Big Ten.
Several questions surround this team.
Who will play quarterback? Will the offensive line play better? Will someone step up as a playmaker on defense?
All of these questions should be answered rather quickly, and it won't just be the household player's names solving them.
In 2011, the incoming freshman class will have a chance to make an impact on both sides of the ball. Penn State fans, coaches, and other players, are hoping these freshman can give their team the spark it needs.
Here are five freshman ready to make their mark in Happy Valley, sooner rather than later.
Anthony Zettel, DE
Anthony Zettel is going to give the Nittany Lions a playmaker with a very high motor up front.
Zettel, who is actually playing offensive line in the above video, is projected to play defensive end full time once he reaches Happy Valley.
At 6'4'', 255 pounds, Zettel has the size to compete right away in the Big Ten. He is stout against the run and also has the ability to rush the passer.
He has a great combination of size, speed, and quickness off the edge.
Zettel may not have the talent to get on the field right away for Joe Paterno, but his attitude and non-stop motor will make up for some of that. His blue-collar style will fit perfectly in the Big Ten, and should get Zettel early playing time in some capacity.
Angelo Mangiro, OG
Angelo Mangiro is the Nittany Lions highest rated recruit, according to espn.com.
With the offensive line being a major question mark heading into 2011, look for Mangiro to get his shot at some point.
The interior of the offensive line is attempting to replace Stefan Wisniewski, who wound up being a second round NFL draft pick of the Oakland Raiders.
Mangiro, who was an Under Armour All-American, has the ability to shore up the weakest unit on the Penn State football team.
Having the potential to be a devastating run blocker will help Mangiro play early in Penn State's offense as the line will try to create running room for Silas Redd all season.
However, Mangiro needs to develop more as a pass blocker but his athleticism and wingspan should help that development.
Bill Belton, WR/CB
Bill Belton was a dual-threat quarterback in high school, but he won't be answering any quarterback questions in Happy Valley.
Recruited to play as a slot receiver, and potentially as a nickel cornerback early in his career, Belton just needs to get on the field.
A great athlete, Belton is the player who makes fans hold their breath every time he touches the ball. He can be electrifying, and could remind some fans of current player Devon Smith.
The evolution of college football has demanded for teams to diversify their offense, and spread the field. Belton is the perfect player to add to that equation, and for that reason he will make an impact early.
Fans may only see him in the game here and there, but be ready to hold your breath, and don't be surprised if he finds his way to the end zone.
Donovan Smith, OT
The first word that comes to mind when watching Donovan Smith is... massive.
Smith, at 6'7'', 280 pounds, is physically ready to play right now.
Adept at both run and pass blocking, Smith should be able to use his size to see the field very early on in his career.
While he still needs some work on his technique and needs to get stronger, Smith makes up for that with his aggression. He can push players off of the ball at the point of attack, and he uses his long arms to keep players there.
If Smith can work out some kinks in his technique, look for Penn State coaches to throw their behemoth lineman into the fold sooner rather than later.
Deion Barnes, DE
Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, Barnes decided to keep his talents in state.
Barnes has a frame that is solid enough to play at the collegiate level today, but also the room to bulk up once he hits the weight room.
He has the quickness to disrupt plays in the backfield, and also the speed to chase players down in the open field.
While Barnes is still raw, look for him to get time as a situational defensive end this year for Penn State.
Depth is never a bad asset to have, and Barnes would allow Joe Paterno to have more flexibility up front. His development in 2011 could benefit Penn State in the next few years as they look to replace players across the front four on defense.
Look for Barnes on third down, and in situations where a starter needs a spell.
Ben Kline, OLB
Ben Kline managed to play three positions in high school, but with Penn State he will play one. Kline will look to contribute to the acclaimed linebacking history that Penn State already has from day one.
Kline is a hard-working player that will make the plays he is needed to make. He does lack some explosiveness, but he makes up for that with his instincts and tackling ability.
Having played tight end and receiver in high school, Kline could find himself being used in coverage situations at linebacker, allowing him to use his 4.5 40 speed.
Penn State has a deep and, once again, talented linebacking corps. Kline could add one more body to the mix as Tom Bradley looks to find mind-boggling schemes to confuse opposing offenses.
Look for Kline to find his way onto the field on a situational basis.