REDSHIRT REPORT: Part I

Get an exclusive, inside update on how the Penn State rookies who are redshirting this season have progressed to date in practices and conditioning.

While a handful of Penn State true freshmen played in 2009 — RB Silas Redd, QB Robert Bolden, LB Khairi Fortt, DT DaQuan Jones, TE Kevin Haplea — most members of the Nittany Lions' 2010 recruiting class redshirted this season.

But that doesn't mean the players who are sitting out lack talent. The list of Penn State greats who have redshirted is extensive, including All-Americans like Ki-Jana Carter, Kerry Collins, Michael Haynes, Larry Johnson and a host of others.

The best part about redshirting as a true freshman is it allows a prospect to immerse himself in the strength-training program and get fully acclimated with the playbook. Each Friday during the season, while most everyone else on the team is off, the redshirting rookies are put through brutal workouts at Lasch Building.

With that in mind, we believe it is important to track the progress of the redshirting freshman. See Part 1 of our exclusive Redshirt Report series here:

Mike Hull, LB, No. 43

Hull got an early look at safety, a similar path taken early on by former linebackers like LaVar Arrington, Mike Mauti and Gerald Hodges. However, he was shifted back to linebacker early in preseason camp. Hull has a hard-nosed approach and an aggressive streak that has impressed position coach Ron Vanderlinden since his arrival on campus.

His initial move to safety was to not only "test him" at the position given the depth of the linebacker unit, but also to work his read-react coverage skills. Hull saw scout team work this year through most of his reps, but moved up to see some second-team work in practice for a period when Mauti was injured.

Hull has been described as "aggressive" and "agile" and many feel that he's become stronger during the season. As one observer explained, "He's got good instincts and aggression; they have him really working on his pursuit angles and finishing his tackles."

The consensus is that Hull should make a run at the two deep next season.

Luke Graham, OL, No. 79

At about 6-foot-4, 287 pounds, Graham saw some early Scout Team work at the guard and tackle positions, but was shifted to the defensive line in short order. "He's got a good frame and is quick off the snap," one observer said, "but he has to work on his mobility to keep in front of his [assignment]."

Graham has shown to have good strength in his legs and has been "working on getting his arms and back to where they need to be." Said to be pretty quiet, he's a focused player who has been "determined to improve his play."

Graham is said to have benefited from the redshirt year, but "still has progress to make before he can make a run at the depth chart."

Alex Kenney, DB/WR, No. 15

Kenney has seen practice action this year at cornerback and slot receiver. He's used to playing a variety of positions, having seen time at wideout, running back and return man in high school.

Listed at 6-foot, 195 pounds, Kenney has "great speed that he has good control of." He "handles his routes well" and "has good balance."

Kenney really turned heads playing the role of Michigan's Denard Robinson on the scout team, though. "He deserves a lot of credit prepping [the defense] to contain Robinson," as one observer put it. "He shifts his direction well and really tested everyone."

Kenney's shown to have impressive read-react skills and has focused on improving his overall strength to help him get off the line or cover assignments more easily, no matter which side of the ball he ends up on. Observers also point to his attitude as being a strength. "He asks the vets questions and takes everything in."

Kyle Baublitz, DE, No. 84

At 6-5, 257 pounds, Baublitz has good size and has added some weight to his frame this season. He's shown "good basic strength off the snap," but has really focused on his technique from the end position. Baublitz is seen as a potential "power rusher rather than a speed guy."

"He uses his legs well," according to one observer, but has been working on using his hands more effectively. "He's got to get better on shedding the block, but he keeps his feet moving, which is a plus."

Baublitz has seen primarily scout team work this season. The defensive end position struggled getting pressure on the pocket this season, so observers feel Baublitz could make a run at the two-deep in the spring, although the emergence of young guys like Pete Massaro and Sean Stanley will make it "a challenge."

Miles Dieffenbach, OL, No. 65

Dieffenbach started the season seeing scout team guard reps and worked his way up to seeing second-team reps at center after the offensive line experienced some injuries. But he stayed in his redshirt.

Observers feel Dieffenbach is destined for guard ultimately and say his "leverage off the snap has come along." At 6-3, 295 pounds, the consensus is that he has "good size" but his technique and control of it has to come along.

Dieffenbach has focused heavily on the conditioning, ndurance and his overall strength. He also has worked to improve his hands, but "uses his feet well and is pretty agile" for his size.

With the departure of Stefen Wisniewski and Lou Eliades, the sentiment is that there will be an opportunity for him to push for the two-deep this off-season.

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