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Friday, January 18, 2013
Lions spotlight: Andrew Nelson

By Josh Moyer

Every weekday until signing day, NittanyNation will break down a commitment from Penn State’s 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: Offensive tackle Andrew Nelson, Hershey, Pa./Hershey, 6-foot-5, 280 pounds

Committed: April 15, 2012

ESPN.com grade: 82. Four-star prospect.

ESPN.com rankings: No. 17 at position, No. 43 in region, No. 9 in state.

Picked Penn State over: Maryland, Missouri, Northwestern, Pitt and Temple.

State of the position: Rising redshirt sophomore Donovan Smith could be in for a breakout 2013 season, and Adam Gress will likely take over at the right tackle spot. This position doesn't have as much depth as guard, but the backups will likely be some combination of Nate Cadogan, Eric Shrive and Anthony Alosi.

Pros: "Playing out of a three-point stance, we see a prospect with very good flexibility, agility and balance. He demonstrates the ability to play on his feet in space while adjusting to quick change of direction movement. He is a tough customer who comes off the ball aggressively when drive blocking and his initial quickness and first step allow him to get into defenders with a flat back and good blocking base. He is able to maintain an advantage with his persistent leg drive and balance. He is very effective releasing up on linebackers, is quick and smooth when pulling to trap and his athleticism allows him to reach for leverage on offset defensive linemen." -- ESPN scouting report

Cons: "Needs to add body mass over time ... His initial punch will need to improve. Nelson does not appear to be an immediate starter at the BCS level of play and some time and perhaps a redshirt year will be necessary to grow physically." -- ESPN scouting report

Similar to/potential role: He comes in with a scouting report and ESPN.com grade (82 compared to 81) pretty similar to Class of 2011 prospect Angelo Mangiro. Sure, Mangiro's a guard -- but Nelson could follow a similar road. He'll likely redshirt his first season because the depth isn't terrible at the tackle position, but he'll see playing time early in his career.

Expected impact: 2014. There'll be a battle for the starting job in 2014 and, while Nelson might not win it, he's in position to see considerable playing time. Offensive line coach Mac McWhorter likes to give his players short breaks throughout the game, and Nelson should be a solid backup option with a redshirt under his belt. As of now, Nelson will be one of just four tackles on the roster in 2014 -- so he'll be in position to make an early impact.

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