Penn State has entered into a new golden age of recruiting under James Franklin. When he arrived to Happy Valley, Franklin inherited an offensive line room that was understocked and in need of a talent boost. Since then, he's landed four of Penn State's top-ten offensive line recruits in program history. His latest addition is high four-star offensive lineman Landon Tengwall, who checks in as Penn State's fifth-best offensive line recruit ever. Let's take a look at how he compares to the best recruits that have committed to James Franklin's Nittany Lions.
*Note: These are evaluations as high school prospects.
Landon Tengwall (Tackle/guard, 0.9771, No. 45 overall, Class of '21)
Tengwall comes in as physically developed as a high school recruit can be. He's built like a tank and is as strong as an ox. Given that strength and physicality are typically the biggest obstacles for offensive linemen to playing as true freshmen, there isn't anything other than learning the playbook that stands in Tengwall's way. What's keeping his ranking from being even higher is that his ceiling and style of play lends itself more to guard than lockdown left tackle. He plays with an intense level of nastiness and bursts off the ball. Playing tackle takes him out of his true element. At guard, he can burst off the ball at full force. His technical footwork also makes him a fantastic pull-guard. His actual foot speed and hips, however, also indicate he doesn't have the elite athleticism that comes with the type of tackle prospect that has "future top-10 NFL pick" written all over him.
Michal Menet (Guard, 0.9818, No. 28 overall, Class of '16)
Menet came out as an incredibly athletic interior line prospect. His biggest strength was his ability to move out in space and strength in finishing a block. Menet could be a cornerstone piece almost anywhere along the interior. He lacked the length or overall mass to handle being a tackle. He arrived at Penn State with hardly any bad weight so his transformation was minimal. He simply needed to put on strength and some mass. Even as he enters his final year of eligibility at the college level, he carries over 300 pounds like it's 280.
Rasheed Walker (TAckle, 0.9676, No. 65 overall, Class of '18)
Walker's biggest asset was his prototypical size and athleticism for a future left tackle. Incredible length, a wide and sturdy base, and fantastic feet. He needed to get stronger once he arrived on campus. He never had the nastiest initial punch, but he could pass block with the best of them.
Caedan Wallace (Guard, 0.9627, No. 81 overall, Class of '19)
Wallace was a tweener coming out of high school. He had good footwork with strong skills in pulling and moving out in space with a strong punch off the ball, indicating a great future at guard. He also had the body, albeit perhaps an inch shorter than preferred, to be a tackle. He had tremendous potential at guard, or he could've been a very good player at right tackle.
CJ Thorpe (Guard, .9584, No. 89 overall, Class of '17)
There's a particular trait that is so rare and coveted for offensive linemen coming out of high school: playing angry. Thorpe is a fun-loving person, but on the gridiron, he is as nasty and angry as they come. He's the type of lineman that can make his own teammates happy he's on their team. He gets under the skin of defenders over the course of a game and can draw penalties and cause them to abandon their instincts, but also runs the risk of falling victim to the same things himself. He's always had the making of an elite run-blocking guard. He had some body-transforming to do, but his position and style of play meant it could be minimal while getting stronger.