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:
Mike Yancich, LB, No. 33
THEN: Yancich was impressive to observers last summer and managed to work his way to see second-team reps in the preseason while Navorro Bowman was in the doghouse. After arriving on campus, he was focused on "building up his strength," particularly in his legs. Back then one observer said, Mike "gets lost at times. But he has time to work with Sean [Lee]." Lee is the starting linebacker who missed the 2008 season with a torn ACL and spend plenty of time working with the young 'backers.
NOW: Called a "stud" and "the real deal," by observers, Yancich has shown a strong aptitude with the play book and the "speed and aggression to effectively play the outside." He's shown "good wrap-up technique" and "has that reckless flair [position coach Ron Vanderlinden] loves; that disciplined chaos," an observer said. Many feel Yancich is making the strides needed to contribute to the depth of the linebackers next season. Considering the overall youth of the positions and the fact that Lee is scheduled to return, that is high praise. "Yancich is cut from the same cloth as Dan Connor and Paul Posluszny — tough as nails and all business," one observer said.
Matt Stankiewitch, OL, No. 54
THEN: The first commitment of Penn State's Class of 2008, Stankiewitch was penciled in as an offensive lineman due to his 6-3, 290-pound frame and ability to set and hold his blocks. He worked out with former PSU offensive lineman Greg Harrison coming out of high school, and Harrison predicted Stankiewitch would be something special for the Nittany Lions' offensive line.
Now: Up to around 295 pounds, Stankiewitch is "put together pretty well, he's solid, but he needs to get some experience and exposure outside of practice," an observer said. He's said to have a good frame and focused on adding size and power this past season. "He is really killing it in the weight room," another observer said. "This redshirt [year] has been great for him." He's also worked on his footwork and getting his center down. While working with the foreign team, the true freshman has played center and guard and observer feel he has the ability to make a run at the starting center spot with the departure of All-American A.Q. Shipley.
Andrew Radakovich, OL, No. 70
THEN: Radakovich's size and sheer strength were his greatest assets coming into Happy Valley last summer. Since then, he has seen scout team reps, primarily on the offensive line and has worked on getting down zone blocking and his own fundamental work (especially setting and holding blocks).
NOW: At 6-5, 296 pounds, Radakovich certainly has the size to get a look at the tackle spots. "He really needs to nail down his ability to get off the blocks and pick up the rush," an observer said. He has good size and strength and needs to focus on his footwork and agility to "manage the corner in order to help out with the depth. If he can do that, he'll be a big help with the two-deep," an observer said.
Pete Massaro, DL, No. 58
THEN: Came in after his Big 33 appearance at 6-4, 245 pounds with an expectation that he would see time at defensive end. The Newtown Square, Pa., native focused on his ability to get off the snap and on enhancing his pass rush technique to "get penetration off the edge."
NOW: Massaro is up to over 250 pounds, but observers feel he must add another 10-15 pounds to help his game. "He not a burner like Aaron [Maybin] or Mo [Evans]. The coaches see him as a possibility in the power role of Josh [Gaines], but he needs to pull it all together. He's just not there yet with his size, power or technique."
FightOnState.com is THE source for exclusive, inside coverage of Penn State football.