Blue White Illustrated

June-July 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

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5 8 J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 2 2 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M T his one was just a matter of time. When Jameial Lyons, a four-star defensive end according to On3 and the No. 4 prospect in Pennsylvania, at- tended a camp at Penn State last July, he came away with a strong interest in the school, and that interest was entirely mutual. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Lyons posted some eye-opening numbers at the camp, running a 4.8-second 40- yard dash and an even more impressive 4.5-second 20-yard shuttle. The coach- ing staff immediately extended a schol- arship offer. Lyons ended up staying for the Lasch Basch barbecue the next day, and he made four subsequent visits, three of which took place in the first four months of this year. A standout at Philadelphia's Roman Catholic High, Lyons had plenty of op- tions to consider. But as he began to se- riously weigh the pros and cons of his choices, his decision proved to be less difficult than it might have first ap- peared. "When I dropped my top five, I really had two schools in mind: West Virginia and Penn State. At one point, I'm not going to lie, I had West Virginia as my top pick," Lyons said. "But then I started comparing things. Who had the best academics? Who produces guys for the NFL? Stuff like that. "I also had a talk with Coach [James] Franklin one day, and he was really tell- ing me why the best in PA need to stay in PA. I promise you, when he said that, it really clicked with me. That's when I knew I was supposed to stay here." The only genuinely surprising aspect of Lyons' commitment was the timing of his announcement. Just two weeks prior, he had told BWI that he planned to make a decision on Aug. 4. He also had official visits locked in with Illinois and West Virginia, while Pitt had just gotten him on campus for a visit a few days prior. But the more Lyons thought about it, the more he realized there was no reason to wait. "Me and my mom were just talking, and I told her that I already knew where I wanted to go. My heart was already locked in," Ly- ons said. "She told me that she would sup- port that a thousand percent, knowing that I would be safe there. "So, I went up to Penn State with my head coach and some teammates [on April 18]. I got to spend more time with the coaching staff, and me and my head coach sat down with Coach Franklin, and that's when I gave him the good news. The coaching staff was so proud of me. "We called my mom, and tears were coming down her face. I never felt a joy like that inside, knowing that I'm do- ing something good. Where I'm from, I could be doing a lot of other stuff. But I'm out here chasing dreams, trying to provide for my family. I'm not going to lie, it kind of brought tears to my eyes, too. It's a dream. A lot of people work for this. I'm so thankful." With four-star de- fensive end Neeo Av- ery no longer com- mitted, Penn State now has two defensive linemen in its class. Lyons joins Virginia native Mathias Barn- well, a two-way pros- pect who originally committed as a tight end but is now ex- pected to play on the opposite side of the ball. Lyons is likely to be an edge rusher, while Barnwell will focus on defensive tackle. ■ To This Pennsylvania Standout, Home Is Where The Heart Is RYA N S N Y D E R | S N Y D E R 4 2 0 8 8 @ G M A I L . C O M COMMITMENT PROFILE JAMEIAL LYONS A four-star edge rusher according to On3, Lyons had originally planned to make his decision in August but ended up committing to the Lions on April 22. PHOTO COURTESY JAMEIAL LYONS Defensive end Jamieal Lyons is an under-the-radar player in a loaded cycle for 2023, but he was still a high-priority target for the Nittany Lions. Here's a look at what piqued the interest of Penn State's coaching staff. STRENGTHS Length/frame: Thick throughout his 6-foot-4 frame, with long, powerful limbs and room to grow, Lyons has the perfect build for a college edge defender. His pad level in a three-point stance also is impressive. Power/run defense: Lyons knows how to use all of that size and length. He plays with great physicality and control in the run game and can shed blocks to get to the ball carrier for little or no gain. First step: Lyons reminds me of Yetur Gross-Matos in that he's long, fluid and quick. He consistently uses a good burst off the line of scrimmage to threaten the edge of the pocket. AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT Pass-rushing plan: Lyons doesn't have a go-to move, a counter or refinement in his hand fighting. He should be dominating players at his level with his length and athleticism. General hand usage: On his best reps, he wins first contact and commands the block by locking out line- men and tossing them aside. The problem is that too often he'll give a forearm shiver to the chest plate of the blocker and try to get through with brute force. The result is more shoving and less disengaging from blocks. PROJECTION Strongside defensive end: Lyons is a quality prospect with many excellent traits. His frame, work ethic and physical tools give him tremendous upside. — Thomas Frank Carr P L A Y E R E V A L U A T I O N

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