Penn State enters the 2019 season with some good depth on the offensive line. After years of struggling to put together a solid depth chart, head coach James Franklin and his staff have worked hard to stock the position.
This year will see a mix of both returning veterans and some new faces. The departure of Ryan Bates and Connor McGovern from last year's squad will force offensive line coach Matt Limegrover to come up with some new combinations.
That means relying on some newcomers this season.
Redshirt freshman Bryce Effner sat out last season but is ready to step into an important role this season. Our current projections have Effner slotted in as the backup to senior Steven Gonzalez at left guard.
The Effner File
- Class: RS Freshman
- Size: 6'5/297
- Pos: OL
- School: Metea Valley (Aurora, Illinois)
- Composite Rating: ★★★
- Composite Rank: No. 635 overall, No. 49 OT
Gonzalez is a reliable, veteran lineman for the Nittany Lions, and, barring an unforeseen injury, will see most of the playing time at left guard. But, when a breather is needed, Effner could fill in nicely.
Effner primarily played offensive tackle Metea Valley High School in Aurora, Illinois, where he was the state's eighth-ranked player in the class of 2018. However, his versatility and added size make him a better fit as an interior offensive lineman.
The Nittany Lions offered Effner in March of 2018 and would remain his biggest offer. He committed that May and signed as part of the early signing period. Always looked at as a long-term project, he redshirted his first year to bulk up and adjust to the college game.
Since joining the Penn State program last year, Effner has added nearly 15 pounds. Standing at six-foot-five and weighing close to 300 pounds, he has the frame to add even more bulk and become the ideal size for an offensive guard.
Effner could find himself entrenched in a battle for a starting position down the road, but for this season, he'll hone his craft as one of the first reserves off the bench.