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 or traveling, 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 III of our exclusive Redshirt Report series here:
Tom Ricketts, OL, No. 55
At 6-foot-5 and about 275 pounds, Ricketts has seemingly settled in at offensive tackle this past season, having seen reps on both sides of the line(left and right). Most recently, Ricketts saw the bulk of his bowl preparation reps at left tackle, playing the role of Florida's Marcus Gilbert.
Observers feel Ricketts "has a good frame" and "carries his weight well." Although the sentiment is largely that he'll need to continue to add size to make a real impact on the line.
Rickett's is said to have a "no-nonsense" approach when he is conditioning and drilling. This past season he focused on his leg strength in particular and his footwork. "He's getting better with his basic footwork and keeping [his feet] square and under him. I think he's gotta get out of his stance quicker, though."
Observers like Ricketts' general endurance and feel the redshirt year has helped with his conditioning and strength. "I think he's gotta get some more power to push off the rush, but he's made progress and carries himself well. I think he's got the head for the position."
Brad Bars, DE, No. 83
One of the true mystery men of the Class of 2010 was Brad Bars. A late addition as Penn State's 20th commitment to the class, Bars hails from Tennessee and attracted Larry Johnson with this athleticism and "nose for the ball."
At 6-3, 227 pounds, Bars is described as "intense" and "aggressive." The focus last year was on refining his technique as he "came in raw," but has shown and ability to "get pressure off the edge."
Bars spent the past year with the scout team, primarily at defensive end. Observers feel he closed out the season with some decent bowl practices while playing through an injury to his left arm that knocked him out of action for a bit. "He's a tough kid; he knows he has to go out an earn it. But he's got to increase his size and keep getting stronger." Bars is also working on improving his block-shedding basics. "He has to nail that to get L.J. to feel comfortable with him."
Although ends like Pete Massaro and Sean Stanley have been impressive and are the odds-on favorites to fill out the rotation in 2011 with Jack Crawford and Eric Latimore, some feel that Bars is not that far away from providing depth. "If he can keep progressing with [his] technique he can make a run at getting some playing time. He's got to get the little things down though — using his shoulders, squaring his hips and just exploding past the blocker."
Evan Hailes, DT, No. 75
At 6-1 and nearly 300 pounds, Hailes saw most of his 2010 reps at defensive tackle on the scout team. Hailes has good strength in his arms and legs and is described as "a handful" for offensive linemen. He gets a good surge off many snaps, but has to work on his overall consistency.
Hailes has focused on improving his footwork and leverage off the ball. Where most observers feel he needs to show improvement this off-season is with his endurance. "He can't let up on certain downs," as one observer explained. "He's got to do every snap."
Hailes has shown good aggression in drills and is said to be "coachable." For the bowl practices Hailes played the role of Florida defensive tackle Omar Hunter. "He had some really good days and some off days. The key is consistently throwing it at your assignments."
Observers like his frame and power and feel that if he can improve his consistency he can make a run at the two deep. However, with the likes of Devon Still, Jordan Hill, DaQuan Jones and Brandon Ware in the mix, he's got some impressive talent to beat out.
FightOnState.com is your source for the BEST content and community covering Penn State football.