Pat Freiermuth Continues Breakout Season For Penn State
Pat Freiermuth continued his outstanding freshman season for Penn State in Saturday’s 20-7 win over Rutgers in Piscataway.
The tight end from Merrimac, Massachusetts, scored a pair of touchdowns against the Scarlet Knights — the first coming on a 6-yard float pass from Trace McSorley late in the first half. He found the end zone for the sixth time this season on an 18-yard touchdown with 13:06 to play.
Freiermuth now has at least one reception in 10 straight contests for the Nittany Lions. He worked his way up from fourth on the depth chart at the start of the season to become a starter prior to the Michigan State game. He finished with three catches for 47 yards Saturday.
A former four-star prospect who was a five-year letterman at the Brooks School in North Andover, Freiermuth committed to the Nittany Lions in August 2016 — several months before Penn State won the Big Ten championship.
At 6-foot-5, 258 pounds, Freiermuth has proven to be a more physical presence in the running game than Mike Gesicki, who was an excellent receiving threat in college but struggled to hold his blocks against bigger defensive ends.
“He’s physical,” Franklin said of Freiermuth. “That’s something that we’ve shown the team, examples of big runs and big plays that he’s had where he’s pancaked people. He’s playing really well right now.”
Freiermuth is proving to be a reliable option for McSorley in important moments. His touchdown in the back of the end zone against Iowa — with Penn State trailing 12-0 in the first quarter — calmed the team’s nerves and kept the game from slipping away.
“I think the thing that we noticed pretty quickly is the stage just isn’t too big for him,” Franklin said. “It hasn’t been in the weight room. It hasn’t been in practice. It hasn’t been in meetings. You never know when the lights come on, but it hasn’t seemed to be there, as well.”
Since he attended a prep school, Freiermuth is significantly older than his fellow true freshman teammates. He turned 20 earlier this season on October 25, so it’s not surprising to see him already looking the part.
Penn State hasn’t had a tight end who can do it all like Freiermuth in quite some time. With 22 catches for 303 yards through his first 11 games, he’s off to a better start to his career than program greats like Gesicki, Andrew Quarless, and Kyle Brady. None of those three surpassed 300 receiving yards as freshmen.
“Pat’s got a bright future,” McSorley said. “He works hard every single day. He’s a level-headed guy. I think that’s one of the things that’s awesome with Pat is his mentality and his approach.”
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“As soon as his football skills are really sharp, Jayson’s going to be unstoppable.”
New Big Ten Network president Francois McGillicuddy announced Millen will return to the broadcast booth as an analyst during the 2019 college football season.
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