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Penn State QB Drew Allar on Julian Fleming: ‘I Love Being Around Him’

Penn State football’s receiving corps needs to be better.

That’s a big reason the team brought in Julian Fleming.

Most Penn State fans know the story by now.

Fleming, a five-star recruit from in-state Southern Columbia was heavily recruited by Penn State before signing with Ohio State in late 2018. Due largely to the talent in OSU’s WR room, Fleming never blossomed into the star many expected him to be in Columbus. After four seasons, Fleming entered the transfer portal this past December. As soon as word got out that he hit the portal, Penn State fans began to hope. In early January, that hope became reality when Fleming committed to PSU.

Fleming went through winter workouts with Penn State in February.

The next month, he started his fifth spring college football season and first with Penn State.

Spring practice is almost over, with the annual Blue-White game less than 10 days away. 

So what has Fleming shown thus far?

“I think he brings a certain toughness and mentality to that receiver room in general,” QB Drew Allar told reporters via Zoom Wednesday morning. “He’s just going to go out and be consistent, do his job, do whatever the coaches ask him to do, no matter if it’s involving him in the pass game or his blocking on the perimeter for screens on the perimeter or the running backs get it (the ball) on the perimeter. So, he brings a toughness to that room that I think is really good.”

It’s hard to measure whether Penn State’s WR room was lacking in toughness last season but it certainly left a lot to be desired production-wise.

The WR room was generally thought to be the biggest weakness during Penn State’s 2023 regular season. Aside from KeAndre Lambert-Smith (53 catches, 673 yards, four TDs), no Penn State WR had more than 246 yards. But Penn State’s had quality options at receiver throughout the James Franklin era. Players such as Chris Godwin, Jahan Dotson and KJ Hamler all became high-round NFL draft picks.

Fleming hopes to get to the league, too, and would greatly help himself by making what will be his lone season in Happy Valley– he’s out of eligibility after 2024– a big one.

For Fleming to have a big year, Allar will have to be on his game, too. 

Allar described Fleming as a “very pro-like guy”

“Has a very good mentality,” he said,” to him in his work ethic and his habits away from the field. He’s always putting in extra work. I always see him bringing along other receivers with him to get extra work on the jugs (machine). He’s always asking me for after practice getting some reps that he would want back from that practice, just repping those routes on air in the same look that he got throughout practice (that) maybe he could have done something better with. So, I think, just from that aspect, he’s been really good.”

It’d be reasonable to expect that Penn State’s receivers– particularly the younger ones– have been learning from Fleming. 

But they wouldn’t be the only ones. 

Fleming’s been playing college football since Allar was a sophomore at Medina High School, well before becoming a school legend and five-star recruit.

So he’s been learning stuff as well. 

“The things I’ve learned from Julian are more of like how receivers see coverages and how they plan pre-snap changes based off leverage and coverage and that sort of thing,” he said. So, I think that’s been very valuable for me, just kind of getting more on the same page with those guys just in general, not only him but all the receivers in that room.” 

Allar also lauded Fleming’s ability to do the dirty work that won’t show up in the box score. 

“Receivers want to catch the ball in space,” Allar said. “That’s why they come here. They get the ball in space on the perimeter and make catches downfield. But we always talk about how we have to earn the right to throw the ball downfield as an offense, and that starts with blocking because you have to have a balanced offense in terms of the run and pass game. So I think blocking on the perimeter is something that most receivers probably don’t want to do.”

We’re still well over four months away from Fleming playing his first game at Penn State. 

But if Allar’s words are an indication, it’s been rosy so far. 

 “I love being around him,” Allar said. “He’s a great guy to be around.”

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