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Monday, March 4, 2013
Meet the run-ons: LB Michael Wiand

By Josh Moyer

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

Vitals: Linebacker Michael Wiand, Mifflinburg (Pa.), 6-foot-1, 215 pounds.

Picked Penn State over: Partial scholarships from FCS school Bucknell and Div. II programs Bloomsburg and Millersville.

Why he picked PSU: He said money wasn't a big issue, so he just wanted to go somewhere where he had the best opportunity. And, clearly, Penn State was the best football opportunity because it was the only Division-I school he had to consider. He also wanted to be a business major, and PSU boasts a good academic reputation with that program.

State of the position: There's a lot of quality depth here. At least seven scholarship linebackers will be on the roster, and there are also a handful of returning walk-ons at this position. This is Linebacker U, after all, so this might just be the position that would be hardest to earn playing time on. Mike Hull and Glenn Carson are the starters, while Nyeem Wartman and Ben Kline will battle for the remaining outside spot this season.

Strengths: He counts on-field intelligence and instincts as his main strengths because he's able to diagnose plays quickly. He boasts above-average pass-coverage ability and can pick up running backs out of the backfield.

Weaknesses: He doesn't boast top-end speed and turned in a 5.23-second 40-yard dash at a Nike SPARQ combine. He also has to work on taking on blockers who are bigger and needs to add more weight to his frame.

Potential impact: The Nittany Lions have liked Wiand for awhile, but it's hard to crack into the starting lineup at Linebacker U -- so he has "special-teams contributor" written all over him. He'll see time on the field at some point in his career, but it'll be difficult for him to see situational time at linebacker. He'll likely be a staple as a scout-team player and a special-teams contributor.

Quotables: "I'm just looking forward for the opportunity to get on the field. I definitely want to play early but, if I'm not ready, I'm not ready. But I do want to get on special teams early. That's big for me."

Getting to know Wiand: Favorite movie is "Black Hawk Down" ... Favorite TV show is "SportsCenter" ... Favorite food is a philly cheesesteak ("As long as it's from Philly.") ... Favorite band/musician is Kid Cudi ... Dream vacation spot is the Outer Banks in North Carolina.