Nov 4, 2023; College Park, Maryland, USA;  Penn State Nittany Lions offensive lineman Olumuyiwa Fashanu (74) celebrates after a first half touchdown against the Maryland Terrapins at SECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

T Olumuyiwa Fashanu ends workout with thigh injury

Left tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu, who is seen as a possible top-15 selection in the NFL Draft, ended his workout at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis early on Sunday after sustaining a right thigh injury, according to the NFL Network.

Fashanu, who appeared in 29 games — with 21 starts — for Penn State over three seasons, ended the workout after his first 40-yard dash. He ran it in 5.11 seconds, with a 10-yard split of 1.77 seconds. Afterward, he was icing down the thigh, the report said.

NFL Network also indicated that Fashanu should be able to take part in Penn State’s pro day on March 15.

College Football Network has Fashanu going to the Los Angeles Chargers with the fifth pick, while NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah rated him as the No. 12 selection.

–Field Level Media

Feb 28, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Penn State defensive lineman Chop Robinson (DL45) speaks at a press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Combine Notebook: Penn State’s Chop Robinson ready to flex

INDIANAPOLIS — Circle DL 45 in your program before the start of defensive line workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday morning if you want to be ahead of the “riser” talk around Penn State defensive end Chop Robinson.

Robinson’s blue-chip trait happens to be a lightning-fast first step, the golden gift for pass rushers, and he is widely projected to be selected in the top 20 of the 2024 NFL Draft in April.

Robinson had only four sacks as a junior in 2023 and played 10 games. He’s undeniably raw but began working on consistency with his hand usage when the season ended and he declared for the draft.

“At my best, my bend, hands and ability to dip around the corner to the quarterback,” Robinson said of his best traits. “I’m trying to jump 11 feet in the broad (jump).”

Brace for buzz around Robinson to be amplified by Thursday night if he delivers on what he said Wednesday were his best workout numbers in preparation for the event. He said he’s targeting a 4.4-second 40 and a vertical of 38 to 40 inches based on benchmarks he already has hit.

Mind you, Demeioun Robinson — nicknamed Porkchop as a 14-pound baby, shortened to Chop when he slimmed down — is 6-foot-3, 254 pounds.

Media mentioned former Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, a two-time All-Pro with the Dallas Cowboys and the 12th overall pick in 2021, as a comparison to Robinson on Wednesday. For reference, Parsons measured 6-3, 245 before the 2021 draft but has no official combine workout numbers because the event was canceled in 2021 due to COVID-19.

–Bears head coach Matt Eberflus begins every formal meeting with draft prospects at the combine the same way: offering them the choice of playing putt-putt or darts in the team’s hotel suite before the interview questions begin.

“I like putting. I’m pretty good at both,” Eberflus said. “Then we’ll just teach them something about the offense, an offensive play, and then we’ll show their tape and have them talk about their tape. Kind of checking their FBI (football intelligence) out there and then recall at the end to give us back what they learned in the beginning. And it’s the same process for all the players.”

LSU defensive tackle Maason Smith met with Chicago on Tuesday night and said he grabbed the putter.

“I like golf more than darts,” Smith said.

–Three prospects continuing their meteoric rise this week are Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, Missouri defensive lineman Darius Robinson and Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell.

Expect to hear much more about McCarthy, who has three total losses between two high schools and three seasons at Michigan, acing interviews with NFL teams.

Robinson changed positions in his fifth season at Missouri last season and is being praised for that versatility in the trenches. He can line up at any spot on the defensive line.

Mitchell had 46 combined passes defensed the past two seasons and has all the skills to be the first defensive back drafted. If he runs the 40 time he expects — 4.3 seconds — at 200 pounds, that could be a reality.

–Clemson linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. huddled with his dad’s former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, and had a session with Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Trotter Jr. said his dad prepped him with practice interview questions and has been an integral part of his preparation for two decades.

“Being in the league growing up, being around the game basically my whole life, he’s taught me a lot about playing the linebacker position,” Trotter Jr. said. “He’s definitely helped me get to this position here and I give a lot of credit to him.”

–As the Tennessee Titans dig into draft prospect evaluations of offensive linemen, new head coach Brian Callahan is getting additional face time with his dad. That would be offensive line coach Bill Callahan.

“There’s not many people that are going to tell him how to do his job,” Brian Callahan said. “He’s about as good at it as anybody. It’s been really fun for me. It’s been a dream come true to be able to sit and to have a cup of coffee with my dad in the morning and talk about what we got coming up that day and talk about pass protection and technique and watch him do his job, too. It’s been awesome.”

–Field Level Media

Belleville quarterback Bryce Underwood watches the last seconds of the game against Southfield A&T at the Division 1 state final at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023.

Report: 2025 No. 1 player Bryce Underwood to commit Saturday

Five-star quarterback Bryce Underwood, ranked as the No. 1 player in the 2025 class by the 247Sports composite, is set to announce his college decision Saturday afternoon, per a report.

Underwood attends Belleville (Mich.) High School and has finalists of Alabama, Colorado, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Oregon and Penn State, 247Sports reported Wednesday.

As a junior in 2023, he completed 66.7 percent of his pass attempts for 3,165 yards with 40 touchdowns and two interceptions, per MaxPreps. His QB rating was 146.0.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound quarterback added seven rushing scores on 25 carries.

Underwood led Belleville to the Division 1 Michigan high school state championship game in 2023. The Tigers were seeking their third straight title and their 36-32 loss to Southfield A&T in the championship game snapped a 38-game winning streak.

–Field Level Media

Penn State left tackle Olu Fashanu (74) gets set before a play against West Virginia at Beaver Stadium September 2, 2023, in State College.

Penn State OT Olu Fashanu opts out of Peach Bowl

Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu, a projected top-10 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, will not play on Saturday against No. 11 Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.

Fashanu was listed as out on the No. 10 Nittany Lions’ pregame availability report.

He was seen as a first-round pick in mock drafts for 2023, but he decided to return for another season with Penn State.

Fashanu declared for the draft on Dec. 22 but accompanied his teammates to Atlanta for the bowl game. He did not divulge whether he would play against the Rebels, however.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 317 pounds, Fashanu was named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors. He started all 12 games and not allow a sack for No. 10 Penn State this season.

–Field Level Media

Nov 24, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar (15) passes the ball against the Michigan State Spartans during the second half at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

No. 11 Ole Miss, No. 10 PSU seek consolation in Peach Bowl

Ole Miss and Penn State both had aspirations of playing on New Year’s Day and perhaps beyond.

However, both lost to the two highest-ranked teams on their schedules.

So the No. 11 Rebels (10-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) and the No. 10 Nittany Lions (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) will face each other in the Peach Bowl on Saturday in Atlanta.

“It wasn’t our ultimate goal, for sure,” Penn State quarterback Drew Allar said. “There’s things I want to have back throughout the year, but that’s what goes into next year and this game. We put in countless hours of work in the dark on our own and as a team since January, so when we don’t get the results we want, it hurts.”

Ole Miss came up short against Alabama and Georgia, and Penn State came up short against Michigan and Ohio State.

“We expect more of ourselves, but you can see winning in college football is difficult week in and week out,” Penn State offensive lineman Olu Fashanu said. “Anything is possible in college football, so to go 10-2 is difficult, but it’s still not our standard.”

The Nittany Lions finished 11-2 a year ago after a 35-21 victory against Utah in the Rose Bowl.

“When you look around, there’s not a lot of teams who can say they’ve won 10 games in the last two years and gone to the bowl games we have,” Nittany Lions tight end Tyler Warren said, “so I know as a team we’re appreciative and we know we can keep getting better.”

A victory would make Penn State the first school to win all of the New Year’s Six bowls. The Nittany Lions are making their Peach Bowl debut in their first game against the Rebels.

Penn State and Ole Miss figure to be closer to full strength than many bowl teams. Nittany Lions All-Big Ten defensive end Chop Robinson opted out. Six other Penn State players declared for the NFL draft but made the trip and might play limited reps.

Ole Miss appears to have only one major opt-out, defensive end Cedric Johnson, who had 5.5 of his 19 career sacks this season.

The Rebels finished 15th in the country in total offense (455.4 yards per game) in the regular season, while the Nittany Lions were first in total defense (223.2).

“We’re one of the best offenses in the country and they’re one of the best defenses in the country,” Ole Miss wide receiver Jordan Watkins said. “Any time you have one of the best go up against each other, obviously it’s going to be cool to watch.”

The Rebels are making their second New Year’s Six appearance in the past three seasons under Lane Kiffin. The fourth-year head coach signed a contract extension after leading the 2021 team and the 2023 team to the only 10-win regular seasons in school history.

Penn State leads the nation in turnover margin (plus-18) and the Rebels are tied for 12th (plus-9).

“Both teams do a really good job turnover-wise,” Kiffin said. “This will probably be one of those games that you have to really play well in all areas to go down to the wire and make some plays at the end.”

–Field Level Media

Penn State left tackle Olu Fashanu (74) gets set before a play against West Virginia at Beaver Stadium September 2, 2023, in State College.

Penn State LT Olu Fashanu declares for NFL draft

Penn State’s Olu Fashanu, considered one of the top offensive tackles in the upcoming class, announced Friday he is entering the 2024 NFL Draft.

Fashanu was seen as a first-round pick in mock drafts for 2023, but he decided to return for another season with the Nittany Lions.

“A year ago I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to declare for the NFL draft,” Fashanu wrote in a social media post. “I am forever grateful that I made the decision to come back and compete with my brothers on last time while also graduating. With that being said, I am proud to announce that I will be declaring fore the 2024 NFL Draft. I look forward to spending time with my teammates and coaches in Atlanta for the Peach Bowl.”

While he plans to travel to Atlanta, it was unclear whether Fashanu will play in the Peach Bowl for No. 10 Penn State (10-2) against No. 11 Ole Miss (10-2) on Dec. 30.

Fashanu, listed at 6-foot-6 and 317 pounds, was a two-year starter at Penn State and was named a first-team All-American in 2023.

–Field Level Media

Former Indiana Hoosiers head coach Tom Allen is reportedly joining Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin (left) as defensive coordinator Penn State won 24-0. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Penn State picks former Hoosiers coach Tom Allen as DC

Tom Allen is set to join Penn State as the new defensive coordinator after the Nittany Lions lost Manny Diaz to Duke.

Multiple reports indicated Allen’s hire would be official Sunday after final details were sorted out, including salary ramifications owed by Indiana.

The head coach at Indiana, Allen was fired at the end of the regular season, while Diaz was named head coach of the Blue Devils.

The Hoosiers parted ways with Allen after seven seasons. Indiana was 3-9 overall and 1-8 in the Big Ten in 2023.

Under Allen, Indiana was 3-24 in Big Ten games since the Hoosiers went to bowl games in 2019 and 2020.

Allen, 53, posted a 33-49 overall record and 18-43 mark in Big Ten play.

His high-water marks came after posting an 8-5 record in 2019 and a 6-2 mark during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

According to reports, Allen’s deal with Indiana included a buyout of $20.8 million at the time he was fired, which was Nov. 26.

–Field Level Media

Nov 4, 2023; College Park, Maryland, USA;  Penn State Nittany Lions offensive lineman Olumuyiwa Fashanu (74) celebrates with  tight end Theo Johnson (84) after scoring a first half touchdown against the Maryland Terrapins at SECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State TE Theo Johnson to enter draft, won’t skip Peach Bowl

Penn State tight end Theo Johnson said Friday that he plans to enter the 2024 NFL Draft but will not skip the Nittany Lions’ upcoming bowl game.

“Thank you … for making my time at Penn State an unforgettable experience,” Johnson posted on social media, mentioning the coaching staff, players, staff members and fans. “After a lot of thought and prayer, I will be declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft. I cannot wait to be with my Penn State Football family one last time when we compete at the Peach Bowl.”

He was the second-leading receiver for No. 10 Penn State this season with 32 catches for 325 yards and six touchdowns.

Johnson joined Penn State in 2020 and had another year of eligibility because of the NCAA’s allowance for the COVID-impacted season.

The Nittany Lions will face No. 11 Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30.

Also, offensive tackle Blake Fisher said he will sit out the Sun Bowl game for No. 16 Notre Dame against No. 19 Oregon State and enter the draft.

Fisher was listed as a five-star recruit by Rivals in the 2020 class. Many thought he’d return for his final season to gain more experience at the NFL-coveted left tackle spot.

Fisher played 27 games, all starts, for the Fighting Irish. He started as a freshman but played only two games because of a knee injury.

–Field Level Media

Penn State football defensive coordinator Manny Diaz walks onto the turf with other members of the team during football media day at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, August 6, 2022, in State College.

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Report: Duke targeting Penn State DC Manny Diaz

Duke is expected to hire Penn State defensive coordinator and former Miami head coach Manny Diaz to lead the Blue Devils, ESPN reported Thursday.

Diaz would replace Mike Elko, who departed to become the head coach at Texas A&M after guiding Duke to a 16-9 record in two seasons in Durham, N.C.

Diaz, 49, compiled a 21-15 record with the Hurricanes from 2019-21 before joining James Franklin’s staff in 2022. His Nittany Lions rank third in the nation in scoring defense this season (11.4 points per game).

Diaz was the defensive coordinator at Miami (2016-18), Mississippi State (2010, 2015), Louisiana Tech (2014), Texas (2011-13) and Middle Tennessee (2006-09).

The Blue Devils (7-5, 4-4 ACC) are scheduled to face Troy in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 23. Associate head coach and running backs coach Trooper Taylor is serving as the interim coach.

–Field Level Media

Penn State defensive end Chop Robinson (44) celebrates after sacking Massachusetts quarterback Taisun Phommachanh in the first half of a NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions won, 63-0.

Penn State DE Chop Robinson to enter NFL draft, skip Peach Bowl

Penn State standout defensive end Chop Robinson is entering the NFL draft and won’t play in the Peach Bowl later this month.

“After careful thought, I have decided to forego our bowl game and declare for the 2024 NFL Draft,” Robinson posted to social media. “From one dream to the next, I am excited to continue this next chapter.”

The No. 10 Nittany Lions will face No. 11 Ole Miss on Dec. 30 at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.

Robinson, whose given name is Demeioun, played his first collegiate season at his home-state Maryland before transferring to Penn State. A 6-foot-3, 254-pound junior, Robinson posted 15 tackles, four sacks, five quarterback hits, one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles in 10 games this season.

He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection and widely considered to be a first-round draft pick.

–Field Level Media