In Focus: JUCO Players

With FOS recently reporting on the true freshmen, we now turn our focus to juco additions Ako Poti and Nerraw McCormack. Get an update on how both offensive linemen are progressing this preseason.

THE PLAYERS: Recently, we posted our Rookie Report on the true freshmen in the Class of 2007. However, that report excluded two recent additions to the Penn State program: juco players Ako Poti and Nerraw McCormack.

Though Penn State traditionally has not made a practice of recruiting junior college prospects, "we needed to boost the offensive line depth," according to one observer, and Poti and McCormack could serve as a "potential quick fix."

THE ASSESSMENTS:

Nerraw McCormack: McCormack is described as "mobile and massive." He not only "looks the part," but gets "out of the blocks quickly" and "gets that low bend in his knees." With his "impressive size," McCormack is seeing reps at left tackle in an effort to progress him to the point where he can add depth to the position behind Gerald Cadogan.

As one observer said, "He has work to do understanding his role, particularly on a pull or roll. He's physically there and can impact the line with some technique adjustments and a grasp of the playbook. Left tackle is a tough, vital job, so we'll see."

McCormack now weighs 295 pounds, but observers feel that his frame could handle a significant weight increase. He enrolled at Penn State for the first summer semester, so it will be interesting to see how he develops the longer he is in the program's weight training programing.

Two separate observers said they think McCormack has the physical ability to make a push for the second-team left tackle spot, but it "comes down to consistency." As another observer explained, "There's a mad rush on the weakside coming from most defenses, so you have to handle a barrage of pressure."

Ako Poti: Poti seems to be settling in on a position. Stationed at guard for most of the spring, Poti is now back to tackle this preseason, a position he has played throughout his career.

He is on the right side of the line and backing up starter Dennis Landolt and Joe Toriello. Poti is focusing on his footwork. Improving his mobility has been a priority since he arrived on campus in January. "He tends to play flat-footed at times and doesn't always bounce with his step — they have him working his legs to carry his frame more easily."

Poti checks in at 310 pounds. The staff would like him to be closer to 300.

Poti "sets a solid base, but needs to work on his pivots and using his hands to pick up leverage off the snap."

Both juco players are expected to help provide depth at tackle for PSU. The question is just how much of an impact. "It will depend on how quickly they can make the transition into the scheme, pick up the zone blitzing technique and learn the playbook."

Ako Poti and Nerraw McCormack talk to FightOnState.com

The preseason practice content continues to fly around here at FOS. To help you keep track of it all here is a running list of the practice reports we have around the site:

FOS TV: Jay Paterno
Nittany Notes: Rookie Report
Nittany Notes: Starting Lineups
FOS TV: Chris Bell
Nitany Notes: Scrimmage Report
FOS TV: War of the Words
FOS TV: Scirrotto One-on-One
Photo Gallery: Team Group Shots
First Look: Meet the Rookies
FOS Audio: Paterno's Media Day PC
Nittany Notes: Kickin' It
In Focus: Dan Connor
In Focus: Austin Scott
Nittany Notes: Drill 6 WR Report
In Focus: Derrick Williams
Nittany Notes: Power Line (OL)
Follow Up OL Player Notes
Nittany Notes: Position Battles
Nittany Notes: Opening Day Notes
Preseason Kickoff (Schedule, Plan)

Stay tuned to FOS for continuing exclusive reports on PSU's preseason practices.

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