If you thought Penn State Football reached its peak last year with Super ‘Quon and the Great Eight, think again Nittany Nation. Even with Saquon Barkley and his megawatt smile in attendance and looking on, Trace McSorley and this year’s prospective Next Level Nittany Lions have already managed to climb out of his shadow and forge a path on their own. Last month, it was the NFL Combine, and on Tuesday morning, it was Penn State Pro Day. All 32 NFL teams sent representatives and scouts to Holuba Hall; something to think about as this year’s NFL Draft in Nashville inches closer and closer.
In fact, not only did the seven Nittany Lions that attended this year’s combine in Indianapolis repeat their stellar performances at Pro Day in Happy Valley, but a few more who weren’t at Lucas Oil Stadium added their names to the equation. Namely, Nick Scott, Koa Farmer and DeAndre Thompkins who all blazed through their agility and position drills and posted the highly coveted sub-4.5 second 40. Thompkins actually ran a mind-blowing official 4.33, which would have placed him as this year’s third fastest time amongst wide receivers and return specialists, had he been invited. That in and of itself is enough to warrant serious consideration in a league that values speed and athletic ability above all else, and all three have now put themselves in position to sign as free agents at the very least.
As for the others, Kevin Givens remains a question mark, but Shareef Miller, Connor McGovern, Ryan Bates, Amani Oruwariye, and Miles Sanders did nothing but solidify their standings in this year’s draft pool. If anything, they continue to climb the ladder as each put on a performance that confirmed their exploits in Indy were no fluke. And then there’s Trace. All he needs is a shot I say, and on Tuesday, he made it even harder for those in attendance to ignore. Once again, he ran the fastest 40 of any QB in this year’s draft and only had 4 drops or passes that were off the mark over the dozens he threw with NFL eyes watching.
Put away the crazy notion that he belongs on defense or could be the next Julian Edelman (more likely than defense I must admit) at the next level. Debate me all you want but Trace is on a mission to prove all the doubters wrong and he plans to do it by taking snaps, not making tackles or hauling in passes. His one-time sidekick was there in total support and if no-one else believes in Trace, #26 is all in on the McSorley train.
Up next, the waiting game with an eye towards the final weekend in April to see who goes where and when. Until then, you can catch #9 on ESPN’s ‘Hey Rookie’ in the lead up to the draft; ironically the same series that King ‘Quon himself starred in a year ago. He doesn’t need to be the second name called, or the hundredth for that matter, all he needs is a shot and it’s becoming clear with every step he takes that shot is going to come, as the Next-Level Nittany Lions prove that 2018 was just the beginning!