Penn State has a roster full of freak athletes. If you need validation on this, just ask Bruce Feldman. He put six Nittany Lions on his famous freaks list for 2023.
But the West Virginia coaching staff is so impressed by what they see from Penn State on film that they actually think Feldman is shorting changing James Franklin’s team. In fact, when WVU defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley was asked about Feldman’s Penn State freaks, he spent most of his answer talking about one player before being told he wasn’t even among the ones included on the list.
That player is tight end Tyler Warren. Lesley immediately mentioned Warren without hesitation. “44. Tight end. Good player,” Lesley said on Monday. Most may think of Chop Robinson when they think of a great Penn State player wearing number 44, but Warren is who will keep Lesley up at night worrying about.
Lesley went into more detail on why Warren is someone who catches his eye. “Good, big, athletic, fast, can catch, can make contested catches, can block,” said Lesley before being stopped and informed Warren did not make Feldman’s list. Lesley didn’t seem to care.
“I like Bruce (Feldman), but you know,” Lesley said with a smirk. “Not to take anything away from the rest of them. The left tackle is the left tackle. The running backs are the running backs. The quarterback by stature is big. The receivers are new guys for them. They’re all really good players. But 44, the tight end. He on film to me, he sticks out to me because of the matchup.”
Listed at 6-foot-6 and 257 pounds, Warren is just a lot to handle for any defender. But his athleticism is what makes him a freak. He’s not just a problem to try to bring down, but he’s tough for anyone, especially in the secondary, to even grab at all.
On what makes an offense with a complete tight end so difficult to scheme against, Lesley again said it’s all about matchup issues. “Usually by formation, you can always ID a run side and a pass side. If you can’t ever ID that, that creates issues.”
Everyone knows WVU will have their hands full on Saturday night in State College, but it might be possible people are still overlooking aspects of this Penn State team. That’s a scary thought for West Virginia fans.