Penn State has a lot of “freaks,” according to the Athletic’s Bruce Feldman.
Feldman made a list of 101 freaks, and six Penn State players ranked within the top 43.
Here’s a breakdown.
NO. 9: CHOP ROBINSON
Feldman described Penn State’s defensive end as an “incredibly explosive 250-pound guy with blazing speed, great strength and Freakish ability,” and mentioned him in the same breath as a past Penn State freak.
“We’re not saying Chop can be another Micah Parsons,” Feldman wrote, “but he is still very special.”
“The 6-foot-3, 254-pound junior is a little bigger than Parsons, and almost as fast. He clocked a 4.47 40 this offseason and ran a quicker shuttle, 4.22. He also broad jumped 10-7 and benched-presses 400 pounds.”
NO. 15: JORDAN VAN DEN BERG
Robinson’s presence on this list was expected in large part because he’s one of Penn State’s best players. Van Den Berg, a reserve defensive lineman, is likely more of a surprise for a lot of people.
But make no mistake, the guy is a freak.
“This offseason, he benched 455, cleaned 380 and back-squatted 690,” Feldman wrote, “but it’s the combination of the strength with his agility numbers that forced his way onto the list.”
Feldman noted than Van Den Berg ran a 4.74 40-yard dash and “his shuttle time of 4.20, might be even more impressive.”
“He also vertical jumped 31 inches and broad-jumped 9-2,” Feldman wrote.
Redshirt-sophomore defensive tackle Jordan van den Berg put on an impressive display of strength today. pic.twitter.com/y1yrzNyS6m
— Justin Ciavolella (@jciavolella76) March 3, 2023
NO. 23: OLU FASHANU
Nobody will be surprised to see this name on the list. Fashanu is viewed by many as America’s best offensive tackle and is projected by many to be the first lineman taken in the 2024 NFL Draft, if not the first overall player.
Feldman wrote that Fashanu “had a terrific year on the field and an impressive one off it,” noting his 4.97 40 and 4.63 shuttle time.
“The 40 time would have tied for the best at the NFL Combine among all the offensive linemen there,” Feldman wrote. “Fashanu, who attributes his agility to all the time he spent playing basketball growing up, also bench-pressed 405 pounds, squated 605 and power-cleaned 350 clean.”
NO. 31: NICHOLAS SINGLETON
Feldman isn’t the first to publicly refer to the sophomore running back as a “freak.” Penn State’s strength coach, Chuck Losey, used the term when describing Singleton to reporters this past June at a summer availability.
“He approaches training the exact same way Saquon [Barkley] approached training, the same way Miles [Sanders] approached training, as the same dude every day,” Losey said.
“When legit coaches start comparing you to Adrian Peterson,” Feldman wrote, “you know you’ve got a special talent.”
Feldman noted that Singleton ran a 4.39 40-yard dash in the offseason and had a 4.18 shuttle time, also power-cleaning 385 and benching 425.
NO. 38: ZANE DURANT
Like Van den Berg, some would be surprised to see Durant on this list. The second-year defensive tackle isn’t projected to start against West Virginia Week 1.
But Feldman sees him as a Freak, and mentioned him in the same breath as a 2023 first-round DL.
“Pitt’s Calijah Kancey made this list last year,” Feldman wrote, “and Durant, who had five tackles and a sack as a true freshman last year, evokes some of those visions. Durant is 6-1, 284 pounds and clocked a 4.66 40 this offseason.”
Feldman went on to write that Durant has “generated some big buzz inside the Nittany Lions’ program and we can see why.”
“He ran a 4.44 shuttle broad-jumped 9-10 to go with a 425-pound bench. Big-time numbers all around, especially for someone who has had only one full year in a college weight program.”
NO. 43: ABDUL CARTER
There’s nothing surprising about this name. Carter is one of college football’s best players, and Feldman noted Carter’s jersey number— 11– as an indicator of how Penn State sees its second-year LB.