As I continue to trick myself into thinking there will be college football this year, my hype for those Penn State Nittany Lions is growing more and more each day. Hearing reports about how the offense is changing (thank the Lord) under first year OC Kirk Ciarrocca and how much growth there has been with the younger guys is really giving me that fuzzy feeling inside.
One of those younger guys poised to break out in a MASSIVE way is redshirt sophomore defensive end Jayson Oweh. The Blairstown, New Jersey native is listed on the PSU roster as 6-feet-5-inches tall and 257 pounds. Now you might think that’s pretty standard for a DE, but then you find out that he runs a 4.31 40-yard dash.
This kid didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school as he was focusing on his time as a Division I basketball recruit at the Blair Academy in Jersey. Once he did hit the gridiron though, Oweh skyrocketed up the ranking lists based on his raw athleticism and projectability. He committed to PSU as the 76th-ranked player in the country in the 2018 class over Michigan and Ohio State, and has found himself learning and mostly watching behind 2020 Carolina Panthers second-rounder Yetur Gross-Matos for the last two years.
In his first collegiate action, Oweh came in against Kent State his true freshman year and immediately racked up two sacks, showing just what kind of ceiling he could have. Last year, Oweh collected 21 total tackles, five tackles for loss, five sacks and two forced fumbles on just around 300 snaps compared to a full-time starter’s 700-800.
For my math friends reading along, that projection uptick would lead to 52.5 tackles, 12.5 for loss, 12.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. To put that into perspective, 2019 First Team All-American DE Bradlee Anae from Utah had 41 total tackles, 14 for loss, 13 sacks and one forced fumble.
Now I’m not saying Oweh is a shoe-in to be an All-American, but he definitely has the tools to get there. His growth and how PSU can fill in for the departure of Gross-Matos will be a huge factor for this team to potentially make a run for a *hypothetical* Big Ten title and *hypothetical* CFP appearance.
Only now in his fifth year of football, this is the year many people expect that crazy athleticism and growing knowledge to click into something very special along the Nittany Lions’ defensive line. For our visual learners out there, here’s a look at our guy in his time in State College.