The perception of both the present and future Penn State football’s offensive line is way different than it was two years ago.
Olu Fashanu has played a big part in that.
Fashanu has become one of the best linemen in college football. He’s so good that he would have been a first-round pick in the 2023 draft had he declared, which most expected him to before he revealed that he’d be staying at Penn State.
Sure, Fashanu staying in Happy Valley will delay his timeline of becoming a multi-millionaire by a year. But it will allow him to do some things he otherwise wouldn’t be able to had he not stayed. Those include continuing to hone his skills before turning pro, being part of a team that many see as a national championship contender and working with Penn State’s young linemen, such as the only five-star signee of coach James Franklin’s 2023 recruiting Class.
J’ven Williams has all the makings of becoming a fan favorite.
The 6-foot-5, 313-pounder played at Wyomissing High School near Reading, which is in Penn State country.
It’s roughly two-and-a-half hours away from State College.
When Ty Smith, Williams’ throwing coach for Wyomissing’s track team and a 1991 graduate of Wyomissing, was in high school, Wyomissing’s football uniforms were a copy of Penn State’s.
Blue and White. No names. Black Shoes.
“The whole nine yards,” Smith told Nittany Sports Now in May 2022, soon after Williams broke the state shot-put record.
That’s what Penn State football means in Wyomissing and the Reading area.
“Everyone loves Penn State,” Williams told NSN around the same time.
But geography isn’t the only reason Williams could become a beloved figure by the time he leaves Penn State; he’s pretty darn good at football, too, hence the five-star rating.
Williams played a lot of guard at Wyomissing– at one point, he was the top-rated interior offensive lineman in the country by 247Sports– but has been working at tackle over Penn State’s spring and fall camps.
Fashanu, already established at left tackle, has seen him develop.
“I thought he had a great camp,” Fashanu told reporters via Zoom Tuesday.
“He had the opportunity to get a lot of reps and I think that’s really important for a freshman, for his development. Just getting his reps against other college football players, with him being less than a year removed out high school. So I think that’s been great for his development, and I’m extremely excited for him.”
Fashanu isn’t the only veteran lineman that Williams has impressed since coming to Penn State.
Williams has also spent time working at guard, and Penn State’s projected starting left guard had good things to say back in April.
“J’ven is someone who’s extremely athletic,” Landon Tengwall said. “He’s excited to learn. He’s eager. He’s had a great spring. Coming in on the O- and D-line, it’s not too easy. You’re going from being a high schooler to going against the top 10 programs in the nation.”
“He’s done a fantastic job, Tengwall said. “His upside is insane. He’s one of the most athletic guys on the line I’ve seen in a while.”