Penn State Football: O'Brien Grants Five Run-On Players Scholarships for The Season
Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien has long said that one of the downsides of the NCAA sanctions is that it limits his ability to grant players scholarships who would have otherwise earned them. Run-ons who have worked hard often can earn a scholarship with the team after a great training camp or a breakout season.
Tight end Matt Lehman was one such player -- earning a scholarship after the 2013 campaign. Lehman had 24 receptions for 296 yards and three touchdowns last season.
The limits imposed by the NCAA haven't stopped O'Brien from rewarding five run-on players who will be on scholarship this coming year. The players are as follows:
- Bryan Davie - Sr./Jr., G
- Carl Nassib - Jr./So., DL
- Devin Pryor - Sr./Jr., CB
- Tyrone Smith - Sr./Jr., DT
- Deron Thompson - Jr./So., FB
Of those five, only Pryor and Smith are listed on the Nittany Lions' most recently released depth chart; both third at their respective positions. Thompson could see some playing time behind current starting fullback Pat Zerbe. For Nassib and Davie playing time may not be in the game plan but injuries and strong practice sessions can change those plans in a heartbeat.
Either way, in light of the even tightening space between Penn State and the NCAA's imposed scholarship limit it's a nice gesture by O'Brien to reward at least a few players who have earned scholarships. Even if the scholarships only last a season, it is likely a gesture greatly appreciated by all five players.