But that doesn't mean the players who are sitting out lack talent. The list of PSU greats who have redshirted is extensive, including All-Americans like Ki-Jana Carter, Kerry Collins, Michael Haynes, Larry Johnson and a host of others.
With that in mind, we believe it is important to track the progress of the redshirting freshman. Check out Part 1 of our series right here:
James Terry, OL, No. 60
THEN: Listed as a 6-foot-3, 294 pound lineman out of Brandywine High School, Terry "looked the part" when he got on campus with an impressive build. The question was about his agility and footwork to get off the snap.
NOW: Terry is upward of 325 pounds and although there was consideration of moving him at defensive tackle, he has settled in with the offensive line this season. Terry has been "impressive" in the weight room, particularly with his lower body strength and has had a "focus on getting his upper strength on par." As one observer said, "He's got good size and has shown pretty good endurance on runs." Observers feel he could make a run at the two-deep this off-season.
Brandon Ware, DT, No. 99
THEN: Ware came onto campus tipping the scales at nearly 370 pounds. As one observer explained during the preseason, "He really needs a year to knock down the conditioning — he needs to get his weight down and the endurance up." Ware initially struggled to complete early runs on conditioning sets in the off-season.
NOW: Ware has impressed the staff all season, earning a coveted spot on the limited travel roster to games like Purdue. "He's started to trim down a bit, but he needs more time [in the weight room]," an observer said. "Getting his size down will help with his endurance, footwork and ability to break off the snap — all areas he has to improve on." As another observer explained, "He has the ability to be a load in the middle, but he's got to be able to do it time and again on a drive." And his ability to finish those runs? "He's getting better," the observer said. At the Rose Bowl, Ware said he was under 340 pounds and appeared to be in good shape.
Mike Farrell, OL, No. 78
THEN: Farrell's impressive size (6-foot-6, 285 pounds) had him consistently standing out in the minds of observers last summer and preseason. Although back then he needed "some time in the weight room," to "fill out his frame," he showed good agility in runs and was focused on "working on that endurance," according to an observer.
NOW: Farrell has shown promise getting down the blocking schemes and getting in work at both tackle positions. "Mike's had the opportunity to work with Dennis [Landolt] and [Gerald] Cadogan. Both are veterans who have given him help managing his feet and prying leverage off the line." an observer said. Farrell is said to have the size to contribute to the depth of the offensive line (which will need it) in 2009. But he has to keep working on "getting low and on his toes to pick up the rush off the edge." Observers also like the progress he has made with his conditioning. He's shown impressive progress with his upper- and lower-body strength.
Dave Keisling, S, No. 19
THEN: A walk-on prospect from Fork Union Military Academy, Keisling was an early enrollee who arrived 5-foot-11, 195 pounds. As he said during his recruitment, "It's a dream of any Pennsylvania kid to go to Penn State. It was just a great experience to even get invited to camp there by coach Dick Anderson. I got some positive feedback on my performance from coach Brian Norwood and even got to check out Beaver Stadium. It was just an awesome experience."
NOW: Keisling spent this year with the scout team, primarily at safety, learning the coverages and working on his agility, speed and general technique. In fact, Keisling played the role of USC SS Kevin Ellison (No. 4) in preparation for the Rose Bowl before he sustained an ACL injury in practice before the game. The coaches will monitor how his recovery goes this off-season.
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