Penn State DL Yetur Gross-Matos wants to take next step; shakeup for Nittany Lions wrestling squad
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On the rise
Penn State will reshuffle its defensive line for the 2018 season, and one of the key pieces to that line will be Yetur Gross-Matos.
Gross-Matos saw plenty of time as a freshman, registering 17 stops and a sack. He also recovered a fumble and as John McGonigal of the Centre Daily Times writes, Gross-Matos believes his best is yet to come and he is not planning on suffering a sophomore slump.
The front line
Along with Gross-Matos, the entire defensive front is expecting to rise to the challenge for a Penn State team that very early on is expected to be among the favorites to compete for the college playoffs.
Land of 10’s Tyler Donohue writes that some of the incoming freshmen could have an impact on the overall success of the defensive line.
The trio of Micah Parsons, PJ Mustipher and Jayson Oweh will join a returning crop of linemen that defensive line coach Sean Spencer has as his dispense.
Ryan Buchholz, Shareef Miller, Kevin Givens and Robert Windsor each emerged as key contributors in 2017 as redshirt sophomores. Miller earned spring game defensive MVP honors last April, then followed with a team-high 11.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
Redshirt freshmen Shane Simmons, Shaka Toney and Daniel Joseph displayed disruptive abilities off the edge, combining for 13.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.
It wasn’t too long ago that Penn State was struggling with depth amid the NCAA sanctions, and now, depth is a major strength.
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On the mend
While the Nittany Lions defensive line appears to already have a rotation set, the Nittany Lions secondary already has a major question mark in the offseason.
Safety Ayron Monroe, who was expected to land a starting job next season, underwent surgery for an upper body injury, writes Andrew Rubin of the Daily Collegian.
Penn State couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the operation, so there is no clear timeline for Monroe’s recovery. However, with an inexperienced Nittany Lions safety group preparing for 2018, every practice rep is going to be important.
The Nittany Lions already knew they had to find replacements for the graduated Marcus Allen and Troy Apke, now one of those replacements is a big question mark.
Scuffle shakeup for wrestling team
Penn State’s wrestling team flew through the Southern Scuffle over the New Year’s Day weekend, but injuries have affected the Nittany Lions rankings for a few team members.
Lauren Muthler of the Centre Daily Times writes that junior Jered Cortez fell out of the rankings entirely, while junior Nick Nevills suffered a few losses at the Scuffle and dropped a few spots in the latest InterMat rankings.
Not all the news is bad for the Nittany Lions wrestling team. Former Boise State wrestler Carson Kuhn announced he would be joining Penn State.
Muthler writes that the move isn’t yet official and Cael Sanderson deflected questions about Kuhn when asked, but Kuhn posted via social media he was on the move.
Penn State begins the second half of the season with a road date against Michigan on Friday.
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Corrections: Jered Cortez’s first name and Nick Nevills’ first name were incorrect in the original post. Land of 10 regrets the errors.