Cabinda Ready to Roll at Penn State

The New Jersey three-star Class of 2014 signee arrives at Penn State Saturday. He is bigger than he was a few months ago and prepared to contribute.

Penn State needs an immediate infusion of talent at linebacker. Jason Cabinda is hopeful he can provide it.

The New Jersey three-star prospect and Class of 2014 linebacker signee will arrive at University Park Saturday. When he does, he'll show up at 242 pounds, ready to learn, and excited to start the next phase of his life.

"I'm most looking forward to learning the schemes and the concepts," Cabinda said. "I think physically, I can definitely compete.

"I just want to get my head in the playbook and start to get ready."

Cabinda has kept busy since signing in February, both by working out and chatting frequently with Penn State's staff.

The linebacker has talked plenty with defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and linebackers coach Brent Pry, and while the conversations have been wide ranging, they have mostly focused on his pending arrival.

"Coach Pry and Coach Shoop will send me a text message every here and there," Cabinda said. "They want to build a national championship defense, and I think we are all in the same mindset.

"[Shoop's] defense is flexible. It's personnel based; whatever we have, he will play to our strengths the best he can. That's kind of how my high school did it, too."

Shoop and Pry have been in touch with the future Lion plenty since coming aboard, and Cabinda said a film session with Shoop assured him of what the new staff was bringing to the table.

That certainty has been with him as he prepared to arrive on campus, and their message has been as steady as his training regimen.

"I focused mostly on my lateral speed. I think that is where I needed the most work, along with getting bigger and getting stronger."

"I focused mostly on my lateral speed," Cabinda said. "I think that is where I needed the most work, along with getting bigger and getting stronger.

"They like that I could play outside and inside, and I've just been getting ready to play."

Cabinda's intent to play from the get-go has become all the more important with reports that veteran PSU reserve 'backer Ben Kline has sustained another serious injury. The Lions were thin at the position before the injury, with only five scholarship LBs on the roster in the spring (and Kline being held out of most action).

"Absolutely not," Cabinda said when asked about the possibility of a redshirt. "We only have four scholarship linebackers on the roster, so with me and [fellow class of 2014 linebacker] Troy [Reeder] coming in, we could possibly be on the two-deep.

"It's very cool that me and Troy will be needed. It's why the Class of 2014 and Class of 2015 are so important. Basically, they're saying to be ready and to make sure you're ready. I'm confident that I'm going to get in there early and make an impact on defense or special teams, and contribute right away."

Reeder and Cabinda have become close of late, but their relationship dates back to last fall, when Reeder was recruiting the former Syracuse verbal to change gears and join the Lions.

He did, and now both are aiming to do whatever they are asked to do come the end of August when Penn State opens its season against UCF in Ireland.

"That's just an incredible opportunity to play Ireland in the first game," Cabinda said. "Hopefully we'll have a day or two to roam around and see Europe, but we're very focused on UCF and want to get to business.

"I want to live in the film room," he continued. "I want to see their offense and what they do so we can start preparing immediately on Saturday to get ready for UCF."

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