Breakout players for 2013: No. 1
December, 21, 2012
By Josh Moyer | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarPenn State offensive tackle Donovan Smith (76) blocks Wisconsin linebacker Mike Taylor (53) and opens up a big hole for running back Zach Zwinak (28).Over this past week, NittanyNation has counted down the five Penn State players who weren't named to the All-Big Ten teams and are poised for breakout seasons in 2013.
The No. 1 breakout player: LT Donovan Smith, rising redshirt sophomore
When Smith was first recruited by Penn State, the staff playfully pulled out the chair he was about sit on. "That was Levi Brown's chair," former assistant Bill Kenney told him.
Kenney and the staff explained how Brown was picked fifth overall in the 2007 draft, and they emphasized just how much Smith's playing style reminded them of the Arizona Cardinal.
Kenney may no longer be with the team, but it's still pretty evident this staff still thinks highly of Smith -- and that he has a bright future ahead of him. At 6-foot-5, 316 pounds, Smith is already close to the prototypical size for an NFL tackle. And, even though he's been on campus for just two years, he's already dripping with NFL potential.
The Maryland product was limited in 2012 because of a combination of injuries. He missed a lot of preseason practice with a lingering hamstring injury, missed two games and also saw limited time when he broke his hand and was forced to wear a cast.
Smith wasn't 100 percent for nearly his entire redshirt freshman campaign. If he stays healthy, with another offseason of training under Mac McWhorter and Craig Fitzgerald, he could be the next big -- pardon the pun -- thing in State College.
He's flexible, athletic, powerful and has put in the work. He's added about 51 pounds since high school, and it's a distinct possibility he could be the best player on the line next season. He's likely to leave Penn State with a few All-Big Ten selections -- and next year could only be the beginning.
Quotables: "He's an excellent young player. He's a left tackle that's athletic and big and tough, and you know he's had some bumps and bruises over the last couple games." -- Bill O'Brien
The Early Offer: March 5
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35