After making an impression among coaches and his teammates from the time that he enrolled in January, Penn State freshman Tony Rojas has been placed on the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year watch list.
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) August 31, 2023
Rojas, who committed to Penn State last July, was one of 37 players put on the watch list, which has been given out since 2018 by the Maxwell Football Club. The award is named after former Alabama and Seattle Seahawks running back in 2005 NFL MVP Shaun Alexander.
Rojas comes to Penn State as a four-star recruit out of Virginia’s Fairfax High School where he finished as the third-ranked prospect in Virginia, the number ten linebacker and the No. 122 prospect nationally, according to 247Sports.
Rojas came onto campus weighing 195 pounds, but he put on 30 pounds of muscle, and he impressed in the Blue-White game this past spring and progressed so much that he, along with fellow freshman King Mack, Elliot Washington and Zion Tracy have been given the “green light” by Penn State coach James Franklin to burn his redshirt status this season as stated in his weekly news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Before that, Franklin complimented Rojas on his body transformation this past spring.
“He has put on 29 pounds since he’s been here, and it’s good weight,” he said. “I don’t know how that is necessarily possible, but he has put on 29 pounds. Every time I got to the nutrition bar he is sitting there eating— after practice he is getting an extra pump in, and he is playing fast and carrying the weight really well.”
Rojas will look to carve his role in coordinator Manny Diaz’s defense starting Saturday night against West Virginia.