It's been a year of change for Penn State starting linebacker Nyeem Wartman. In May, he won Mother's Day by changing his name to honor his mom.
He is now Nyeem Wartman-White.
And this preseason, he is learning a new position. After starting at the Will OLB spot in 2014, the redshirt junior has taken over the Mike ILB spot. This is no easy task, as the Mike calls the defensive plays and makes pre-snap adjustments for the defense.
Heady Mike Hull handled the job for the Nittany Lions' powerful defense last year. But now he's trying to earn a job with the Miami Dolphins, and Wartman-White is the man in the middle.
"I'll tell you, Nyeem's still growing into the position a little bit," PSU linebackers coach Brent Pry said. "He missed some opportunities in the spring, missed some practice (with an undisclosed injury). He's a guy who did and outstanding job at Willy 'backer in the fall, but it's a new animal there at Mike. He's still growing at the position, he still needs reps. He still needs experience, he still needs practice. But I think by the time we get to game one, he'll be in good shape."
Pry also addressed Wartman-White's strengths and areas of needed improvement.
"His strength is his agility and physicality," Pry said. "There's not many guys at 250 (pounds) that can play with the knee-bend and the physicality that Ny does. Weaknesses? He's still growing into the position. He needs to continue to understand (and) command the whole defense. He's got to see the whole formation each and every snap. He got to get the front set. He's got to control the Sam and the Will. There's a lot going on at the spot, way more than he had at Will 'backer."