After Arriving On Campus Underweight, Paris Palmer Is Ready To Elevate His Game
Back in February, Paris Palmer looked more like a power forward than a Big Ten offensive tackle. At 283 pounds, that assessment wasn’t far off. James Franklin made it abundantly clear during the offseason that if the highly-touted offensive tackle wasn’t able to put on the necessary weight, he wouldn’t see the field.
What a difference six months makes.
With two days left before the Nittany Lions set course to Philadelphia to take on Temple, Paris Palmer is a changed man. After undergoing a physical transformation during the offseason, Palmer looks and plays the part of a Big Ten caliber tackle. At 6-foot-7, it’s easy for weight to be dispersed across his lanky frame, which is why his 283 pound frame could’ve been easily mistaken for that of a 240-pound athlete. But 19 pounds later, Palmer will have no problem taking on much stronger, more skilled defensive ends than those he faced at the junior college level.
James Franklin touched on the work his new starting left tackle put in during the offseason, and the subsequent results he’s seen now that Palmer is finally in football shape.
“He’s done a lot, his teammates have done a lot, the strength staff has done a lot, but it all starts with Paris.” Franklin said after Wednesday’s practice session. “It was clearly obvious to me that he was going to come in here and work. He knew he had a great opportunity here, and that’s one of the reasons why I think he came here. That said, a lot of guys have great opportunities, but never seem to figure it out. Paris is a guy that’s figured it out.”
Franklin explained that while he’s impressed with Paris’ effort and determination during the offseason, it’s all going to come down to how he performs on Saturday.
With players like Palmer, lingering question marks always remain. These come warranted in some regard, as Palmer’s highest level of competition up to this point has been at the junior college level. That’s not to say JUCO players can’t perform, but it’s certainly a few steps down from what Palmer will see on Saturday. Franklin spoke on this, noting that certain question marks are usually answered after week one.
“I think you figure a lot out in the first game, but I think it’s the speed,” Franklin said. “It”s definitely different, wether it’s from high school, junior college, to the Big Ten, the speed and physicality aspects are vastly different.”
Fans and coaches alike hope the transition is made sooner rather than later, both for Palmer’s sake, and for the well being of the guy he’s protecting. From the sound of it, Palmer hasn’t given any reason for concern.