Blue White Illustrated

September 2023

Penn State Sports Magazine

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5 8 S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 3 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M P enn State landed one of its most important recruits in the 2024 class when four-star Massachusetts defensive lineman Liam Andrews an- nounced on July 21 that he plans to sign with the Nittany Lions. Listed at 6-foot-4, 275 pounds, An- drews initially was one of PSU's top tar- gets on the opposite side of the ball, hav- ing earned an offer in January 2022 as an offensive lineman. Andrews traveled to State College three times in the months that followed, at- tending a spring practice session on the first of those visits. When he returned in June to camp with the staff, he impressed offensive line coach Phil Trautwein. However, after visiting Penn State again in November for the Lions' regular-sea- son finale against Michigan State, An- drews started to have second thoughts about his position. Following his junior season at the Dexter School in Brookline, he revealed that he wanted to play defen- sive tackle at the college level. Andrews took unofficial visits to Clem- son, Florida, Miami, South Carolina and Wisconsin in the spring of 2023, leading to speculation that the Lions were fading. But head coach James Franklin and his staff were able to convince him and his family to come back to State College in mid-April. That proved to be arguably his most important visit. Not only was Penn State able to show him why he would be an excellent fit at defensive tackle, the staff had an opportunity to compare PSU to the schools he had recently visited. Andrews ultimately elected to take three official visits this summer. The first was to Penn State in early June. Trips to Wisconsin and South Carolina followed, with the Gamecocks emerging as PSU's primary competitors. In the end, the consistency of Penn State's staff played a major role in his commitment. "The decision was very tough," An- drews told On3's Chad Simmons. "Each of my final three schools are great pro- grams with great people. Near the end of my recruitment, it was very tight be- tween Penn State and South Carolina. Penn State won out after I took a break from talking to coaches and did some real thinking." Andrews said he chose the Lions "be- cause of the feeling I get when I step on campus. It just feels like home. The peo- ple there are also exceptional and really care about you." He is the No. 85 overall prospect na- tionally, as well as the No. 4 athlete and No. 2 player in Massachusetts, per the On3 Industry Ranking, a weighted aver- age of the four major recruiting services. On3 designated him as an athlete in July after previously listing him as an offen- sive line prospect. Andrews is rated more highly by On3's scouts than by those of the other three recruiting services. On3 lists him as the nation's No. 61 overall prospect, No. 3 athlete and No. 2 player in his home state. ■ Coveted Lineman Feels At Home With Nittany Lions RYA N S N Y D E R | R YA N. S N Y D E R @ O N 3 . C O M COMMITMENT PROFILE LIAM ANDREWS Andrews took official visits to Penn State, South Carolina and Wisconsin before announcing that he plans to sign with the Lions. PHOTO BY DANIEL ALTHOUSE The Nittany Lions picked up a major com- mitment in late July when four-star athlete Liam Andrews chose them over South Carolina, among others. Here's a look at what has made him so desirable to so many programs: STRENGTHS Frame/length: At 35 inches, Andrews' reach nearly equals that of 6-foot-6 classmate Garrett Sexton. In addition, he has a powerful frame with wide shoulders and plenty of room to grow. Athleticism/first step: Andrews has an im- pressive package of physical skills for a player his size. His feet are lightning quick, he's agile, and he has an explosive first step that shocks his opposition. He's fast in the open field, can chase down defenders as a blocker, and is a good pur- suit player as a defensive lineman. Hand usage/pass rush: One of Andrews' most impressive traits is his active hand usage. It's rare to find a high school defensive lineman with a one-arm chop move that he can correctly execute. Finding one that can effectively use a spin move is even rarer. AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT Lower-body mass: Andrews doesn't need to be a 325-pound nose tackle, but his body is clearly top-heavy right now. To play on the de- fensive line at Penn State, he must develop his lower-body strength and mass. Control: Andrews plays with his hair on fire, and you love the intensity he shows. However, there are times when he overextends himself and can't corral his momentum to retrace as a defender. On offense, he sometimes oversets as a pass protector and can't react back inside to close the door. PROJECTION Three-technique defensive tackle: Andrews shows all the skills of an elite interior defender who can impact the game on all three downs. He's the type of player you want to have matched up one-on-one with a guard as much as possible. The best place to do that is from the B gap as a three-technique tackle. Left tackle: If the defensive line doesn't work out, Andrews has the length and athleticism to be an outstanding offensive tackle. He's a five- tool player. Pick the spot you want him to play, and he can execute the assignment. — Thomas Frank Carr P L A Y E R E V A L U A T I O N

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