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Freak show: See which PSU players made The Athletic’s Freaks list this season

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Brandon Smith

Bruce Feldman from The Athletic released his annual Freaks list for college football this morning, showcasing players with “rare physical abilities that wow even those who observe gifted athletes every day.”

Penn State had two players make this year’s list. Here’s what Feldman wrote about them, and their rankings in the top 100.

No. 32: LB Brandon Smith

Nittany Lion stars have been a staple on this list in recent years, with a bunch of guys touting remarkable numbers only to show up a year or two later at the combine to back them up and at times exceed them. The 6-3, 240-pound Smith, a former five-star recruit, stepped up when Micah Parsons opted out in 2020, leading the team with eight TFLs to go with 37 tackles. Smith’s explosiveness is in line with many of the recent Penn State standouts. He broad jumps 10-5 and verticals 36 inches. His 4.25 shuttle time also is very strong, as is his 335-pound clean.

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Jaquan Brisker

No. 76: S Jaquan Brisker

The latest in a strong line of recent Penn State Freaks. The 6-1, 203-pounder has clocked a head-spinning 4.07 shuttle. His vertical is 35 inches, and he’s also very strong for his size, benching 360 and cleaning 315. On the field, Brisker was an all-Big Ten third selection after making 57 tackles in 2020.

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Written By

Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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