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Friday, May 10, 2013
What PSU is getting in its latest LB commit

By Josh Moyer

Jared Wangler's commitment to Penn State might just be a few minutes old, but the big question now is what kind of player is Penn State getting here?

NittanyNation turned to one of the people who knows most what he's capable of on the field -- Matt Lewis, an assistant coach at Warren (Mich.) De La Salle -- and asked what separates the outside linebacker, and how he first noticed Wangler's potential.

Lewis, on what separates Wangler from other players: "What he has and what college coaches love is his frame. He's got big, wide shoulders and the coaches see him as a guy that can put weight on. He can get bigger and faster. But he's already big, physical and unbelievably athletic for a linebacker.

"To me, what really makes him stand out is his work ethic. He's a tireless worker. He's the type of kid that, we have morning workouts at 6, and he drives out of his way to pick up kids to go to workouts. He works his butt off, and that shows. ... And he's an unbelievable teammate. One thing I was really impressed with was he played basketball this year and didn't get a ton of playing time. When he did get called upon in the playoffs, he did a phenomenal job. He's a kid who never complains, just works when he gets his chance and is always ready. That's impressive for high school."

When he first knew Wangler would be special: "Well, for us, he transferred in after his sophomore year. Last year was the first year he had played for us and, the year before, he was injured. So when he came in, we knew he was a big kid and we knew his dad played at Michigan -- so he has that family name. But we didn't really know what he was going to give us until the summer when he got healthy and we saw him running and how big he was getting.

"We started to have big expectations watching him at practice. And once we started games, he was really impressive. Just the way he grasped our stuff. I mean, last year was his first year, and our defense is pretty complex. We run stuff that a lot of colleges run, and he was coming from a program that just didn't do those things. He's a smart kid, a big kid and a physical kid. He's everything you want in a football player.

"The position Jared plays is our rover spot at outside linebacker, and we consider that so important. That one position is coached by one guy on our staff. One coach does the rover, so usually our rover is our biggest, most physical -- he's our best football player. And we put Jared there quickly last year."

When Wangler surprised him or really showcased his ability: "He made this play against Dearborn-Fordson. Again, he plays our rover spot so sometimes he covers a receiver or is physical over a tight end. He dropped back and went right, picked it off -- just made an unbelievable catch, and took it back for a pick-six. [Note: It's the first highlight of this tape.] I think that's the first time that we as coaches were just like,' Wow.' That was just a special play. That seemed to give him a lot of confidence and, since that play, he was just unbelievable.

"He was just unbelievable on offense and defensive for us. When we needed a play, Jared was there blocking. We were running behind him. Or he'd make the play on defense when we needed. Another play he had against Central Catholic. He was playing tight end and we were backed up on our 1- or 2-yard line and we called a boot pass, and Jared made one of the great catches that we had last year and that I had seen in a while -- where the quarterback scrambled, Jared went up and made a one-handed catch for a 30-yard gain in a close game.

"We needed someone to bail us out, and Jared did that. And that was similar to another one of his plays where it's just like, 'Oh my God.' Not many kids are going to make those kinds of plays."