Nittany Notes: Redshirt Report Part III

With the eyes of Nittany Nation focused on the Class of 2007, there is a second recruiting class at Penn State that has yet to see the field, but has had a season to make preparations for its impact on the team — the redshirt freshmen. Take a look at how some more of the redshirt freshmen have looked this season in practice. This is the third in a series of exclusive reports.

With a season of scout team work under their belts, we've been collecting reports on several Class of 2006 members who are redshirting this year. Get a look at the strengths and areas in need of improvement of some of these players as they work to make an impact on the Nittany Lion squad in coming years.

Antonio Logan-El, Offensive Lineman, 6-foot-5, 315 pounds

Rated a five-star offensive lineman prospect by Scout in the Class of 2006, Logan-El was pursued by programs like Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Maryland and Virginia, before choosing Penn State. This season he spent a lot of time with senior offensive tackle Levi Brown. "He and Levi clicked as soon as Tony got on campus," one observer said. "Levi's worked with him on the basics of his game and helped him get up to speed on the zone blocking scheme." Logan-El has a "minor" NCAA Clearinghouse issue which delayed his practice participation in the pre-season, but it was resolved in short order.

Footwork: From the start, Logan-El has shown good footwork for his size. "He carries his size well and has become more smooth off the blocks this year." Logan-El has worked on widening his stance base.

One of the major improvements seen this season is with his "foot technique." As on observer shared, "He was pretty flat-footed when arrived on campus. He's doing a much better job of consistently riding on this toes — this helps him to get out of his stance more quickly and get a surge up front."

Fundamentals: When it comes to the basics, Logan-El "has a good approach to playing the line." Aside from his footwork, he "sits low in his stance and draws a lot of power from his legs rather than his arms." He is also "good on man-up drills, but continues to work on getting to his pull and roll assignments."

Logan-El has worked on "squaring his shoulders" more consistently but makes "good use of his hands — he keeps them up and uses them to frame his opponent."

Approach: Considered to have a low-key, "quiet" demeanor, observers have consistently commented that he has a "mean streak" in him over the course of this year. He has been "getting better at tapping that aggression which gives him a boost."

Logan-El is a "coachable" player who "wants to improve his game and make an impact." This is why many he feel gravitated Brown from the outset of his arrival on campus.

Strength: Logan-El's "power comes from his legs," and he has been working on increasing his upper body strength in workouts. According to one observer, "He has decent top-to-bottom strength, but his power really comes from his thighs and hips."

To improve his upper body strength, he has been focusing workout activities on his back, shoulders, arms and chest "to help him catch his opponent's surge and keep them off-balance."

Position: Although some observers feel Logan-El is slated to play offensive tackle in years to come "thanks to his footwork and wingspan," other feel where he ends up depends on the needs of the line. "He has the tools and size to play guard," one observer explained. "It really depends on what the needs of the line are."

Although he saw some limited time on the second and third teams at left tackle early on, once it was determined Logan-El was a redshirt candidate, he shifted to the scout team where he saw the bulk of his reps this year. Despite this, one observer said he will "have every opportunity to win a starting spot come next spring."

Condition: If there was one knock against Logan-El, it was with his conditioning early on. "He had a tough time with all the running the coaches throw at the guys," one observer said. "Honestly, though, 90 percent of the freshmen had a tough time with the running."

Logan-El has worked extensively on his stamina and conditioning this season and has "made significant strides to build up his endurance." This is thought to be a major move toward him making an impact on the two-deep in years to come.

Overall: Logan-El's technique and desire to improve are "what will drive him to being a successful lineman." Although he has needed significant focus on his endurance and details of his play, he is said to be "an impressive player. If he can learn to bring that attitude and aggression on every down he'll be a major contributor."

Bani Gbadyu, 6-foot, 211 pounds

A Scout three-star prospect, Gbadyu originally committed to LSU, before changing his mind and deciding to join fellow Maryland prospects A.J. Wallace, Antonio Logan-El, Phillip Taylor, Aaron Maybin and Navorro Bowman at PSU.

Fundamentals: Gbadyu is quick and has shown good coverage skills and "the ability to keep stride on routes." He makes "good reads regularly, but is working on pursuit angles — sometimes he pursues th ball-carrier based on where he is rather than where he is going."

Generally, Gbadyu has a good stride and has focused on his "wrap up skills — he hits hard, but he's learning that someone can just step out of the way when you throw a ton of bricks at them." He has improved on "hitting and holding on, but still has work to do." He also needs to "hit lower — he goes for the numbers (chest) too often."

Approach: Overall, Gbadyu is a "very physical player" whose style of play has been described as "aggressive," "tough" and "intense." The downside of this is management of his game and control of his play. "He get's caught at times — overpursuing or biting on a fake. He needs to play with controlled aggression and not allow his game to get messy."

Position: Although the initial thought was that Gbadyu was a future linebacker, a few things have seemingly changed that opinion. First, the depth of linebackers PSU is faced with, with young guys like Sean Lee, Jerome Hayes, Tyrell Sales and Dontey Brown and potential incoming prospects like Chris Colasanti, Natan Stupar and Andrew Dailey. Second, Gbadyu has seen significant scout team reps at safety this season.

"Bani is a physical player; he's built like a strong safety and has the attitude to play the position well. With some discipline he could own the position," one observer shared.

Strength: Gbadyu is "impressive" physically and "has consistent upper and lower strength." He has been working on his arms and shoulders to help him "wrap up and hold on" with tackles.

He has worked his legs this year to help him improve his running, but more importantly "his ability to stop and shift his speed; get better control of his runs in the flat."

Overall: Looking more and more like a safety prospect, Gbadyu has shown good general fundamentals, strength and speed from the defensive backfield. He has been working on his tackling "wrap-up" technique and where to "strike his target."

He is also focused on selecting the best pursuit angles off his reads. He brings a good physical package and attitude to the game and "plays with great intensity."

Catch our other in-depth Redshirt Reports:

  • Redshirt Report I: Pat Devlin & Aarin Maybin
  • Redshirt Report II: Lou Eliades & Evan Royster


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