- Josh Moyer, ESPN Staff Writer
What kind of player is Penn State getting in Brendan Mahon? And what can fans expect?
NittanyNation turned to one of the people who knows most what Mahon is capable of on the field -- Joe Lusardi, his high school coach at Randolph (N.J.) -- and asked what separates him as a player, how he first noticed Mahon's ability and when he especially showcased his potential.
OG Brendan Mahon, Randolph (N.J.), 4 stars, No. 12 at position, No. 215 overall in ESPN 300
6-foot-5, 300 pounds
Lusardi, on what separates Mahon from others at his position: "He's gone to all these combines, and his skill level has improved and his strength level has improved. When you can dunk a basketball standing and you can lift 300 pounds off the ground, I think his jumping ability and leg strength are evident. When he gets on you, it's just something else.
"I'm sure Penn State will be happy with him up there. There's not too many people that big who are walking around this earth, so to me, we like to call that stockpiling the offensive linemen. He's just a lot different. You never get those kids in high school; his skill level is just better than anyone else."
When he first knew Mahon would be special: "He did play on our freshman football team, and I don't get to see those kids as much -- but I definitely saw he would help us out when it was his sophomore year as a right tackle. He really started for us. He had a very good year, and we had a very good team. He was a big reason we did so well; he really brought up his level of play at the time.
"Really, it was just his athleticism that caught my eye. He was a linebacker killer. When he blocked down on them that well in high school, well, you don't see a lot of guys over 300 coming down on you with that type of athletic ability."
When Mahon surprised him or really showcased his ability: "He was pretty consistent. There's been more than a few games where I've run the same play behind him like six times. When the other team knows what you're going to do when you're going to do it, and you keep doing it? And then you do it again? I think that's impressive.
"Obviously when you have the best rushing season you've ever had, and you have one back who's gained as many yards as anyone in the last 13 years, it's a tribute to the line. The back is pretty good, but the offensive line is key. And that's what we look to with that -- I had the running back with the most yardage. Obviously, Brendan was a big part of that."
5dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy