Penn State Football

What Penn State football player made the biggest strides this offseason? Players share their picks

Penn State camp opens in about two weeks, and the season kicks off less than a month after that. So, as kickoff draws closer, that begs the obvious question: Who’s made the biggest strides this offseason?

During a recent media availability at Penn State — during the annual Lift for Life event, which raises money to fight rare diseases — we asked a half-dozen players who impressed them the most this offseason by making the biggest strides.

Here’s what they said:

OL Michal Menet says LB Cam Brown (and DE Jayson Oweh)

“Guys like Jayson Oweh and Cam Brown. They’ve always been leaner guys but obviously big, strong guys as well. But I think Cam has done a really good job this summer putting on weight, which I think will help him take the next step. If one guy stands out, I think it would be him. He’s taken a big step in terms of being a leader on the team, and I think that might be his biggest bump this year. He’s always been a guy who’s going to work extremely hard every single day and try to compete and win every single rep. Just his competitive nature and his ability to be a leader are his two greatest attributes.”

LB Jan Johnson says LB Micah Parsons

“Who have I been most impressed by? Probably Micah. Just his approach from last summer to this summer, he’s more focused and more determined. I think he understands what the position he has and what the potential he has, and he’s trying to take advantage of it. Just being more locked in and stuff, trying to win every rep.”

Penn State safety Garrett Taylor competes in the sled push during the annual Uplifting Athletes’ Lift for Life on Friday, July 12, 2019 at Holuba Hall. Abby Drey

TE Pat Freiermuth says S Garrett Taylor

“I’d say Garrett. Garrett and me have become pretty close, and I think he’s worked really hard — especially becoming a leader for the team. ... He’s done a great job, and I think he’s worked so hard for his five years here. And he’s going to have a great season.”

LS Chris Stoll says OL Mike Miranda

“I have to admit there are a lot of guys who have made some big strides. I want to say the one who really stands out to me is Mike Miranda, offensive lineman. He dealt with a little something at the beginning of the summer, but he’s worked really hard to get back. He squats over 500 pounds; he does everything every day the right way. What he’s doing this summer to prepare himself is really impressive, and it’s really kind of inspired me.”

OL Will Fries says OL Michal Menet

“I think I’ve been most impressed with Michal Menet. Obviously he had a great season last year, but I think this year he’s improved even more. Just his leadership, his work ethic, his habits — we’re workout partners and we push each other every day, so I’ve been really impressed with him, even though he’s already done a good job.”

DT Antonio Shelton says the entire defensive line

“It’s hard to say because everyone is going absolutely crazy. Like, we were cleaning the other day — we had a clean-max — and weight was just going up. Everybody’s weight was going up. ... It’s just everybody on the D-line. Jayson (Oweh) is a freak; they do him like a crash-test dummy. Just like, ‘All right, OK, throw however many plates on there. Jayson will do it.’ Shaka Toney is a lot stronger than people think, Shane (Simmons) is a lot stronger than people think, Daniel (Joseph) is a lot stronger than people think. I just think, as a group, we’ve really taken a step. It’s not like one person is ahead of the pack.”