Manheim Monster

It was at the National Underclassmen Combine his freshman year, when Dakota Royer realized he could play major Division-I football.

"I was competing with the top sophomores in the country," Dakota Royer began. "At defensive end, it was between me and a sophomore for MVP. He only beat me by one sack.

"Right then, I knew if I kept working hard, I knew I had a pretty good shot."

Shortly after Royer's performance at the combine, he was getting mail from places like Penn State and Florida.

Fast forward to the present, and the Nittany Lions have officially offered the Manheim (Pa.) Central standout a scholarship. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Royer has also been offered a full-ride by Pittsburgh and Maryland.

Royer is hoping to add a few more offers soon, and is hearing from places like Michigan State, Virginia, Illinois, LSU and Notre Dame.

The Irish coaching staff is flooding Royer's mailbox with information on the school and team, along with game invites.

"I know they have a great tradition," Royer stated. "That's a football school out there, and it seems like it would be an amazing place to play.

"My interest level is really high, I would really consider it. It seems like a great place to play and coach (Charlie) Weis is a great coach and everything."

Playing mostly defensive end for Manheim, Royer has racked up 72 tackles, with 25 of those coming for loss including 11 sacks. The team has advanced to the second round of district play, and has won eight games in a row for a 9-2 record.

"The thing (college recruiters) mostly say is I'll play outside linebacker, and on third down, bringing me up to pass rush.

"They love that I fly around the ball from defensive end, they love that I make tackles on the other side of the field. And they like my quickness and speed for my height and weight."

Royer runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, has a 3.4 GPA, and bench presses 305 pounds. He's come a long way from the 6-foot-1, 200-pound freshman he was at the National Underclassmen Combine.

College programs talk about putting even more weight on Royer in college, and possibly playing the hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker position.

"I could see myself doing that," Royer said. "They've also said that too, if I can get my weight up high enough. They're not worried about putting weight on me. With my frame, they said they know they can put the weight on me."

This fall, Royer has taken visits to Michigan for the Illinois game, and Penn State for the Michigan game. He will be back in Happy Valley this weekend for the Michigan State game, and also plans on attending the Pittsburgh-West Virginia contest if his own football schedule allows.

At some point, Royer will check out South Bend and Notre Dame for the first time.

"I definitely plan on taking a trip out there," Royer said. "I will be talking with one of their coaches after the season is over. I'll be giving them a call to see what they have to say."

Royer is looking forward to attending plenty of junior days, spring practices and spring games in the not-so-far future.

"I plan on giving a verbal before my senior season," Royer said. "What I want in a school, I don't have any favorites, I'm going to be playing where I'm best fit for."


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