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Thursday, February 28, 2013
Meet the run-ons: OT Austin Fiedler

By Josh Moyer

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

Vitals: Offensive tackle Austin Fiedler, Turbotville (Pa.) Warrior Run, 6-foot-6, 296 pounds.

Picked Penn State over: Heavy interest from D-II Bloomsburg. (He didn't hold an offer from Bloomsburg because, he said, the school was waiting to see what happened with PSU.)

Why he picked PSU: He grew up as a big fan of the football team, and every time he'd train or work out, he envisioned playing at PSU for motivation. That was his dream growing up, and he told offensive line coach Mac McWhorter over the summer that this is where he wanted to be. He committed almost instantly.

State of the position: Donovan Smith is the clear starter at left tackle and could be this season's breakout player. Adam Gress is also the favorite to take over for Mike Farrell at RT -- but he should receive some competition from Anthony Alosi, Eric Shrive and incoming freshman Andrew Nelson. PSU isn't hurting for depth this season, but it definitely needs some bodies for 2014.

Strengths: He has a long reach, and his pass-blocking ability is definitely his forte. He boasts a great frame and size, and he creates good separation between himself and the defensive lineman.

Weaknesses: He said he has to stay low and also improve his leg strength so he can get better at run-blocking. He's not terribly quick -- he turned in a 5.98-second 40 -- so he'll really need to fine-tune his game.

Potential impact: Fiedler grew up wanting to play for PSU, but he's still not as polished as some other run-ons. He'll be a scout team player for his first few seasons, and he likely won't challenge for playing time at least until he becomes an upperclassman.

Quotables: "Well, my first goal was to get on this team. And now that I'm on it, it's still blowing my mind that I'm actually going there. But I'm always telling myself to never be satisfied, so now my next goal -- and it's a pretty big goal -- is to start a game at that field. I'll do everything it takes to get there."

Getting to know Fiedler: Favorite movies are "Friday Night Lights" and "Facing the Giants" ... Favorite hobby is lifting weights ... Favorite meal is a medium-rare filet mignon and a chocolate milkshake ... Favorite band is "Pillar" ... Dream vacation spot is a big ski resort somewhere, or Jamaica for the beach.