Defensive end has been arguably the team's biggest strengths over the past five years. From Carl Nassib to Yetur Gross-Matos, there's always seems to be some guy who is ready to take the college football world by storm. This season, that may just be Jayson Oweh.
Despite being relatively new to football, Jayson Oweh was one of the most sought after prospects in the country. Being in the center of the Nittany Lions' recruiting footprint, he was one of the staff's top priorities in the 2018 class. He announced his commitment at the Under Armour All-American Game in January of last year, although he did sign with the Nittany Lions the prior month.
The Oweh File
- Class: RS Freshman
- Size: 6'5/250
- Pos: DE
- Hometown: Howell, NJ
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: No. 76 overall, No. 4 DE
With guys like Shareef Miller, Shaka Toney, Shane Simmons, and YGM ahead of him, Oweh was able to take a redshirt last season and continue to learn the game of football. It was also a chance for him to bulk up a bit, as he had spent the majority of his life focusing on basketball.
Oweh earned praise from the staff pretty much from the moment he arrived on campus, with James Franklin repeatedly saying he was impressed with how quickly the game had come to him.
Like many other freshmen, he made his debut in the Kent State blowout, where he registered his first two career sacks. He would go on to appear in the Illinois, Rutgers, and Maryland games, ultimately ending his season before the bowl game.
The one thing that really stood out about Oweh in his limited game action was his speed. It's been known that he can run like a running back or wide receiver, but he more than backed up that claim with a blistering 40-yard dash time clocked in at 4.33 seconds. That would have put him tied for fifth amongst all participants at this year's NFL combine, and have been the top defensive end time by .08 seconds.
Not only has he gotten faster, but he's also gotten stronger. He's put on roughly 15 pounds since his arrival, bringing his weight up to 250. Not many guys that size can move like that, which what makes Oweh so special.
Oweh will battle with Toney and Simmons for the starting spot next to Yetur Gross-Matos next season. While he's not expected to win that competition, he's still going to get a ton of reps in Sean Spencer's rotation. He gives the Nittany Lions four high-motor edge rushers who should rotate enough to keep each other fresh and continue to get after the quarterback as games go on. This season will go a long way in Oweh's development and could set him up to become one of the best defensive ends in 2020 and beyond.