Blue White Illustrated

March 2024

Penn State Sports Magazine

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5 8 M A R C H 2 0 2 4 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M COMMITMENT PROFILES Penn State didn't waste any time in its pursuit of New Jersey offensive lineman Michael Troutman. The Nittany Lions were the third Power Four program to ex- tend a scholarship offer to the three-star prospect, doing so last May. On Feb. 11, their early involvement paid off. The Lions received a commitment from Troutman, who attends Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic and is rated by On3 as the No. 49 interior offensive lineman and No. 25 prospect in New Jersey. The junior made his announcement via social media, choosing Penn State after receiv- ing offers from a dozen schools, includ- ing Rutgers, Pitt, West Virginia, Illinois, Michigan State and Texas A&M. Troutman became the second offen- sive lineman to jump on board with Penn State, joining three-star Connecticut lineman Owen Aliciene, who chose the Nittany Lions in late January. The 6-foot- 2, 275-pounder visited Happy Valley four times during the recruiting process, most recently for a junior day on Feb. 3. Penn State offensive line coach Phil Trautwein worked with Troutman at camp last summer, and the pair kept up the relationship throughout his junior season. "My biggest thing with Coach Traut is how real- istic he is," Troutman told On3. "He doesn't sugar- coat anything and tells you things how they are. Something unique about him and what makes him such a great coach is that he not only teaches you about the game of football, but also dif- ferent things about life as well. It's been a great experience building a relationship with him." In addition to camp, Troutman at- tended the Lasch Bash recruiting barbe- cue, the 2023 season opener against West Virginia and the Nittany Lions' loss to Michigan in November. "I really liked how interactive the coaching staff was with everyone," Troutman said. "I also liked how the staff treated each player and parent equally with the same level of respect." — Sean Fitz Penn State has had its share of re- cruiting success in the Pittsburgh area the past few years, but the class of 2025 is taking that trend to a new level. On Feb. 7, the Nittany Lions added their fifth commitment from the region in the current cycle, locking in Imani Chris- tian linebacker Dayshaun Burnett. Burnett is a three-star prospect ac- cording to On3's scouts, but he's re- ceived a four-star grade in the On3 Industry Ranking, which incorporates evaluations from other recruiting ser- vices. He's listed in the Industry Rank- ing as the No. 33 linebacker and No. 309 overall prospect nationally. Burnett chose the Lions because he felt they would enable him to reach his full potential. "With Penn State being the kind of program they are, they can develop me not only as a player but also as a young man," he said. "Also, I know I have coaches that care about me, so I know that I'm covered no mat- ter what." Checking in at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Burnett is listed as a linebacker by On3 but could contribute at other positions. He primarily played linebacker during his sophomore and junior seasons but also mixed in snaps rushing off the edge last year. "He has the ability to be an NFL guy," said DeWayne Brown, founder of 2Tenths Speed & Agility, who has been training Burnett since the fifth grade. "A guy like Dayshaun will fit well at Penn State. As long as he's doing his job, he's athletic enough that he can definitely get on the field after a season or two." Burnett totaled 16 scholarship offers. He took multiple visits to Pitt, Rutgers and West Virginia, but his seven trips to State College told the story of his re- cruitment. "He's the type of guy they want," Brown said. "He'll fit right in. The best is yet to come with him, honestly. He hasn't peaked out yet." — Ryan Snyder PSU Earns Another Pledge From Western Pennsylvania New Jersey Lineman Responds To Lions' Early Interest P L A Y E R E V A L U A T I O N We'll peg Burnett as a defensive end at Penn State. Zone blitzing is becoming more and more common, with defenses trying to find ways to disrupt college offenses. Burnett's fluidity and frame make him an excellent candidate for a role that requires dropping into the boundary flat or stringing out option plays on the edge. If he doesn't have the length to play on the edge, he can still potentially fit at middle linebacker. He's got enough speed to play between the tackles and would be another big, intimidating athlete pa- trolling the middle of the field for Penn State. — Thomas Frank Carr P L A Y E R E V A L U A T I O N Troutman is an interior guy all the way. This is a guy who projects as a center at the college level. He's 6-foot-2, and he's done some growing in the past year, which is encouraging. But at the same time, Penn State hasn't taken an offensive lineman who's under 6-3 since Juice Scruggs in 2018. Troutman's length can counterbal- ance concerns about his height. We talk a lot about height, but length is the important thing for an interior guy. Troutman has pretty good reach for a guy who's listed at 6-2. He can reach a linebacker or a defensive tackle from that center position. But the positional flexibility may be limited because of his size. — Sean Fitz COMMITMENT PROFILE DAYSHAUN BURNETT COMMITMENT PROFILE MICHAEL TROUTMAN

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