Florida State is officially part of the Penn State story, as Tuesday it was confirmed that former Nittany Lions tight end Kevin Haplea will transfer in order to suit up for the Seminoles this season.
A 6-4, 251-pounder originally from North Hunterdon (N.J.) High School, Haplea wasn't a big part of the Penn State passing game in 2011, as he recorded just three catches for 21 yards and one touchdown. He compiled a total of six receptions for 60 yards and one TD during his two years with the Nittany Lions.
But it is on the ground where he may be able to help FSU, as Haplea is regarded as a quality in-line blocker. He helped pave the way this past year for sophomore tailback Silas Redd, who rushed for 1,241 yards on 244 carries (5.1-yard average) and seven scores -- Redd is on his way to USC and expected to immediately upgrade a Trojans offense that already boasted an NFL-caliber aerial attack. Penn State averaged 165.4 yards rushing per contest and 4.2 yards per attempt, while the 'Noles were only able to muster 112.2 and 3.3, respectively.
To find out more about the newest member of the Garnet and Gold, NoleDigest.com reached out to Bob Lichtenfels, who is a national recruiting analyst for FOX Sports NEXT based in the Northeast and covered Haplea in high school.
Strengths: Haplea is a hard-nosed kid, a lunch-pail player who might not show up on the stat sheet, but his impact is felt in the game. He was thrust into action very early in his career due to lack of depth and has had some ups and downs, but through it all he has continued to get better. He is a strong blocker and has not had much of an opportunity to showcase his ability as a receiving threat. Haplea can do a little bit of everything and has done it against some very formidable foes in the Big Ten.
Weaknesses: Still learning, he never really had the chance to ease into anything in college. He was put into the lineup right away. He can run, catch and block but just needs to hone the skills he already possesses. He may have a little bit of trouble early adjusting from a smash-mouth scheme to a more open style of play.
Lichtenfels Says: There is no doubt Haplea can help the Seminoles, especially in short-yardage or running situations. He is used to power football. Haplea can also be used as a weapon in the passing game. He is undervalued as a receiving threat. All he needs is a chance to showcase those abilities.
JC's Take: Third-year coach Jimbo Fisher employed a lot of two-tight end formations throughout spring practice in an effort to revive his running game, but he was still looking for a No. 3 to help in short-yardage and goal-line situations.
Haplea could turn out to be just what the doctor ordered and eliminate the need for incoming freshman Christo Kourtzidis to step in and play right away. There is every reason to believe Nick O'Leary and Dan Hicks will remain atop the depth chart, with O'Leary looking more like an H-back and Hicks handling the traditional tight end duties, but apparently Will Tye hasn't been able to secure the third spot. As a matter of fact, reserve fullback Chad Abram was used as a blocking tight end here and there in spring drills.
While some Florida State fans are inevitably going to feel a bit dirty having a one-time Penn Stater on the roster considering the gravity of the Jerry Sandusky trial, Haplea does fill a need and should be welcomed with open arms.
John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Scout's Analysis: TE Kevin Haplea
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