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Thursday, February 14, 2013
Meet the run-ons: RB Cole Chiappialle

By Josh Moyer

Every weekday, as part of an ongoing series, NittanyNation will take a closer look at a Penn State walk-on.

Vitals: Running back Cole Chiappialle, Beaver Falls (Pa.) Blackhawk, 5-foot-11, 193 pounds

Picked Penn State over: Full tuition from Div. II Cal (Pa.) University, Alderson-Broaddus and Notre Dame College of Ohio. Also had interest from FCS school Robert Morris.

Why he picked PSU: He called it a no-brainer. His other offers weren't nearly as attractive as playing for an FBS school, let alone a major program like Penn State. Between the tradition and the size of the stadium, Chiappialle said he didn't need to think long about committing as a run-on. Actually, he accepted Charlie Fisher's walk-on invitation on the spot.

State of the position: Penn State's added quite a few run-ons at this position because it needs a few extra bodies with the departures of three players (Michael Zordich, Derek Day, Curtis Dukes). The Nittany Lions turned to their fifth-string tailback last season due to injury, and there will currently be just four scholarship tailbacks on the roster in 2013. Zach Zwinak leads the way with Bill Belton, Akeel Lynch and Richy Anderson trailing behind.

Strengths: He's a versatile tailback who caught 49 balls as a senior. He runs in the 4.5s, and he's not a guy who dances around in the backfield. He's an inside runner who makes one cut and takes off. He takes great pride in his hands, and he seems to be in a similar mold as Belton in that regard.

Weaknesses: He's not the strongest, the fastest or the biggest. He knows he'll have to bulk up 12-17 pounds before pushing for time on special teams. He also  needs to improve his quickness in and out of routes.

Potential impact: Penn State has just one walk-on RB already listed on the roster, so Chiappialle has a chance to come in and challenge for the No. 5 spot. Granted, there are a few walk-ons listed at fullback -- but Chiappialle's versatile playing style helps separate him. Still, more than likely, he'll take some time and add some seasoning before earning a promotion from the scout team.

Quotables: "My top goal is to start. I would love that opportunity. But, right now, my goal is to go up there and work hard every day, every time I'm on the field, every time I'm in class. Everywhere. And, if I do that and not take a break for one day, I think it'll turn out good."

Getting to know Chiappialle: Favorite movie is "The Dark Knight Rises" ... Favorite TV show is "The Office" ... Favorite food is spaghetti and chicken parmesan from Bravo's, a local restaurant ... Favorite musician is Mac Miller ... Dream vacation spot is the Bahamas.