NITTANY NOTES: Early Enrollee Report

The Nittany Lions already have four Class of 2009 members enrolled and on the University Park campus. They are Kevin Newsome, Gerald Hodges, Ty Howle and Anthony Fera. Get an exclusive update on their early progress.

Four Class of 2009 members arrived on campus earlier this month — Kevin Newsome (QB), Anthony Fera (K/P), Ty Howle (OL) and Gerald Hodges (DB). The four standouts are currently getting acclimated to life in Happy Valley. All four are also currently roommates on campus.

As one observer explained, "All four [players] are adjusting pretty well with classes and the schedule. I think Howle needs some time to get used to the the cold coming from down South [North Carolina], but they are all doing pretty well out of the gate."

The four took part in early conditioning tests to assess where they stood heading into the program. This is used as a baseline so the staff can focus on areas of improvement.

Here are initial assessments of all four players:

Kevin Newsome: Described as "put together" and "built," Newsome is said to have an impressive physique at about 6-foot-3, 215 pounds. "They'll work him [this off-season] with his endurance and look to have him ad a bit of size to his frame," an observer said.

Another observer noted that Newsome has large hands. "Well, see how he throws and moves, but he looks like an athlete."

Newsome's first workout at Penn State was said to be an "eye-opener" for the young QB, especially some of the conditioning aspects of it. "But that's typical," an observer said. "Most of these kids have never been exposed to this type of routine, and all of [the early enrollees] are getting a real head start on the rest of the class by going through this now."

The staff is expected to have Newsome work on his endurance and the strength in his legs and back in winter sets.

Ty Howle: Said to be "massive" for a true freshman, Howle tips the scales at nearly 295 pounds and measures in at about 6-1. Despite his size, though, observers like his endurance. "He did really well on the treadmill."

He has shown good strength in the early weight sessions. As one observer explained, "He can put them up. What is really telling is if he can use his technique to draw power from that strength. We'll find out."

Anthony Fera: "He's big for a kicker," an observer said. At about 6-2, 225 pounds, "Fera is like two Kevin Kellys." He did well on the conditioning tests and initial reports on his kicking are positive.

"He's shown power and distance, but the question is accuracy," an observer said. "They'll get him in some situations, but the key will be his adjustment to the pressure. He looks like he could be a weapon on kickoffs out of the gate, though."

The focus for Fera is expected to be strengthening his back and mid-section to "help him draw power and gain control with his kicking motion."

Gerald Hodges: Compared by some to Taylor Mays, Hodges has impressed observers with his physical makeup. "He's really put together and looks the part," one observer said.

Hodges was also said to be a bit surprised by the intensity of his early workouts.

"This kid is a freak athlete, though," one observer said. "Like Newsome, he has an excellent base to build from."

Hodges is already explosive, so the staff would like for him to improve on his endurance and lower-body power between now and spring practice.


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