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Jayson Oweh On Fast Track To Becoming Centerpiece Of Penn State’s Defense

Jayson Oweh had never played the game of football when he was a freshman in high school. Today, just five years later, he’s considered one of the top players on Penn State’s defensive line.

As a high school student, Oweh was much more focused on basketball, but that changed when the football coaching staff at Blair Academy in New Jersey begged him to play. The young basketball star reluctantly decided to give it a shot and, as they say, the rest is history.

The extremely athletic defensive end immediately gained national attention when he picked up the game. He was ranked as the fourth-best strong-side defensive end in the country and had offers from plenty of national powerhouses as a four-star recruit. He committed to Penn State in January 2018 and hasn’t looked back since.

Oweh ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash — as a 6’5″, 255-pound defensive end, mind you — and was featured on Bruce Feldman’s “College Football Freaks List” as one of the most athletically-gifted players in the sport. Still, he’s far from satisfied with what he’s done so far.

“I feel like I haven’t done much,” Oweh said. “I know I’m fast, and I’m strong, but that’s all God-given stuff. I plan on doing things here that I’m going to need work for.”

If the young defensive end has only been relying on God-given talent thus far, the results have been fantastic. Oweh played in just four games in 2018 during his freshman year in order to retain his redshirt status, but he still managed to record four total tackles and two sacks. The redshirt freshman’s 2019 season got off to a good start against Idaho after he racked up two tackles and one of Penn State’s seven sacks against the Vandals.

Thanks to his speed, strength, and 6’5″ frame, Oweh has been a valuable weapon for Penn State’s pass defense through his first five games. Despite this, he’s entering this year with a wider focus on every aspect that goes into playing defensive end.

Because of his year of experience, Oweh didn’t feel the same opening-day nerves he felt ahead of the Nittany Lions’ contest against Appalachian State in 2018.

“I felt way more comfortable [this year],” Oweh said. “The first game I played last year, I was jittery and was just trying to get off the ball and sack the quarterback. [Against Idaho], I was focused on all aspects of the defense.”

Considering Oweh’s natural ability paired with the room he still has to grow, it’s hard to describe just how high his ceiling is. His speed of the edge is nearly impossible to defend, but as his football IQ grows, he’ll become an even more dangerous player to face for opposing offenses.

The redshirt freshman’s rivalry with Parsons is well-documented, as the pair had a bit of beef over Twitter after their 40-yard dash race.

James Franklin confirmed that the defensive end still has room to grow, saying that the main reason he didn’t play consistently during his true freshman year was to develop his run defense.

With a full offseason to grow, fans should expect Oweh to be a constant on Penn State’s defensive line along with the likes of Yetur Gross-Matos and Shaka Toney. If nothing else, the redshirt freshman’s pure athleticism and talent will be entertaining to watch throughout the 2019 season.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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