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Former U.S. Marine ‘Runs On’ To Penn State Football Roster

Football players are generally considered to be “tough” among their peers, given the violent nature of the sport and the element of fearlessness typically required to be successful on the field. But the “toughness” of any current player on Penn State’s roster pales in comparison to recent “run-on” addition Immanuel Iyke and the intangibles he brings to the table.

Iyke is unlike any Division I football player of his kind, given that he wasn’t a highly-sought after recruit out of high school — at least on the football field. Iyke, 27, joins the Nittany Lions after serving five tours of duty as a United States Marine, becoming the most recent former Serviceman to make a Division I football team.

The story of former Green Beret-turned-Texas Longhorns long snapper Nate Boyer captivated the nation, as his situation was closely followed as he pursued his dream of playing in the NFL. Iyke’s situation in Happy Valley is a bit different, seeing as the 278-pound behemoth will line up as a defensive tackle. Though Iyke doesn’t have much football experience, his imposing physical stature has caught the eye of his new head coach.

During his segment on “The Penn State Coaches Show,” Franklin noted that Iyke has the build of an NFL player, and that he made the newcomer perform 50 up-downs in practice for “going too easy on the offense” while taking reps with the scout team.

Iyke still has ways to go in his development as a football player, and still needs to get acclimated with how Franklin runs things within the program. Regardless, his presence is sure to have a positive impact on the team, given that there are not many places where you can say your teammate served five tours of duty as a Marine.

With someone like Iyke around the program, Franklin is sure to hear much less complaining from his players. If an activity isn’t too difficult for a former Marine, it’s surely not too difficult for anybody else on the roster.

About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

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