It’s almost certain that more than one NFL team was disappointed.
Fashanu was a good bet to go in the first round of this year’s draft, perhaps even in the top ten.
But Fashanu’s decision to return to Penn State was great news for the whole program. That obviously includes OL coach Phil Trautwein. On Thursday’s Zoom call with reporters, Daniel Gallen of Lions247 asked Trautwein about Fashanu, and Trautwein had a lot of good things to say.
For Trautwein, Fashanu returned to help Penn State win a Big Ten championship more than anything else.
“The team is why he came back, right?” Trautwein said. “He came back for the team and he wants us to win, and when you have that, you start to build something special.
From an NFL Draft standpoint, no Penn State player was more hyped over this offseason that Fashanu, who seems to have an outside chance at going No. 1 overall.
This is a lot for most people to handle, but Fashanu isn’t like most people.
“Olu’s a pro,” Trautwein said. “Some guys, when they get all this hype and they get all this recognition and they start to say ‘Oh, I’m good, I may feel satisfied,’ or they just… they don’t work as hard, right? But Olu’s the opposite. He’s hungry. Every single day, no matter what people say about him, good or bad, he doesn’t care. He just wants to become great.”
Trautwein said that Fashanu’s desire for excellence outweighs any drawback that outside praise and hype could generate.
“He just wants to go and just be great and work hard and work on his fundamentals,” he said. “There’s things on his game that he knows that he needs to get better. He wants to just become the best, and that’s what you want. You want that mindset from everybody. So he’s great for that.”
Fashanu is one of six captains for Penn State, which was revealed last month.
Trautwein said Fashanu is taking commanded of the added responsibilities that come with the captaincy.
“He’s a role model,” Trautwein said. “He’s definitely more of a vocal leader. He takes charge. He’s someone, if he has something to say, he says it, and everybody listens. So he’s definitely becoming a more vocal leader. He’s talking more.
Trautwein described Fashanu’s approach as “awesome.”
“He’s just going to continue to get better,” he said. “He’s going to continue to work on his game and he’s only going to get better every single week, which is crazy to say because I don’t know how much better he can get.”
Trautwein was kidding about the last part, but maybe not fully, since Fashanu is already one of the best in America at his position.
“He’s a great person,” Trautwein said. “He’s going to work hard every single day to do what he needs to do, not only for himself but for the team.”
Penn State OL coach Phil Trautwein has a lot of good things to say about LT Olu Fashanu when asked by @danieljtgallen on today’s zoom call.
— Joe Smeltzer (@joesmeltzer775) September 7, 2023