Monday, July 18, 2011

Matt Chandik's Penn State Player to Watch

Much of the preseason hype has centered around the Penn State quarterback derby going on between three quarterbacks that will likely get PSU a similar record. Incumbent starter Matt McGloin, former starter Rob Bolden (the first true freshman QB to start a PSU opener) and redshirt freshman Paul Jones, but really, none of the three have shown anything to indicate that they could make it a special season for the Nittany Lions.

Whomever the PSU coaching staff turns to, though, will have a potential gamebreaker lining up at running back in sophomore Silas Redd, my pick for 2011 Penn State breakout player. Redd comes off a season that saw him rack up 437 yards on 77 carries for a robust 5.68 yards per carry average. The Connecticut native also tacked on a pair of touchdowns on the ground and caught four passes for 27 yards.

That was as all-time Penn State rushing leader Evan Royster’s backup, though, and Redd is ready for his time in the spotlight. He reportedly dropped around 15 pounds this summer after bulking up to roughly 220 pounds last year. The added weight seemed to have a negative effect on his speed as he looked a half-step slower, so it should be interesting to see how he handles the lower weight and heavier workload.

I expect a lot from Redd this year. He should be one of the Big 10’s best running backs and will make a run at All-Big 10 honors. He could see even more of an increased workload if Stephfon Green continues to struggle at consistently running hard and if Green continues to have poor vision. I anticipate 1,100 yards, 10 touchdowns and another 200-300 yards receiving from whichever quarterback plays.

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