- Josh Moyer, Penn State/Big Ten reporter
Every weekday, as part of an ongoing series, NittanyNation will take a closer look at a Penn State walk-on.
Vitals: Athlete Brock Baranowski, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Pine-Richland, 5-foot-10, 185 pounds.
Picked Penn State over: Heavy interest from FCS school Duquesne. (Baranowski was set to visit Duquesne with the chance for an offer, but received a call from PSU about a walk-on invitation and accepted immediately.)
Why he picked PSU: Because he missed his senior year due to a heel injury that required him to regrow cartilage, he didn't receive much other interest. When it came down to Duquesne and Penn State, Baranowski said he didn't have to think much. The Nittany Lions offered the much better program, and he wanted to play at the highest level he could.
State of the position: Penn State's staff told Baranowski he'll be looked upon to contribute to special teams and that they won't put him at a specific position just yet. During "Run-On Day," he went with the tailbacks, however, and PSU could use a few more bodies there. Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton, Akeel Lynch and Richy Anderson are the only scholarship players on the roster at that position.
Strengths: He has good instincts and a good football IQ. He's a blue-collar, two-way player who's relatively athletic and plays other sports. He's willing to put in the work.
Weaknesses: He's a bit injury prone. He's currently on crutches after surgery a few weeks ago to fix that cartilage issue, and he was also injured in his sophomore season. And he missed the last game of his junior year. He also needs to add some strength and speed.
Potential impact: He'll have a shot to be a contributor on special teams, but he'll likely have to settle for the scout team for quite awhile. He needs to stay healthy to really have a shot at situational playing time and, if he does, he could be a defensive back or tailback depending on what PSU needs.
Quotables: "I think it's pretty obvious when a school like that contacts you, you don't just pass it up. I've always wanted to prove people wrong. I don't think many people think I can play at that level -- and I want to prove to myself I can."
Getting to know Baranowski: Favorite movie is "Old School" ... Favorite TV show is "Always Sunny in Philadelphia" ... Favorite food is steak ("It doesn't even really matter what kind.") ... Favorite musician is Kenny Chesney ... Dream vacation spot is Hawaii.
Every weekday, as part of an ongoing series, NittanyNation will take a closer look at a Penn State walk-on.Vitals: Athlete Brock Baranowski, Pittsburgh (Pa.