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Several Penn State Football Players Fighting Through Injuries Ahead Of NFL Draft

Penn State football hosted its 2024 Pro Day last Friday with scouts from all 32 NFL teams in attendance to evaluate 13 Nittany Lions ahead of this year’s draft.

Some of the participants saw limited to no action during the testing due to injuries, both short- and long-term, but talks with the media silenced any doubt of the players being hurt for extended periods of time.

Johnny Dixon, Olu Fashanu, and Hunter Nourzad discussed their injuries and confirmed they’ll be fully healthy before the draft on April 25.

Nourzad, who didn’t participate in any drills or individual workouts at the NFL Combine or Pro Day, called it “refreshing” to finally discuss the injury publically.

The sixth-year center has dealt with a minor stress reaction in his fibula. He isn’t sure how the injury happened but believes it started during the season and worsened due to a switch in his training schedule ahead of the combine.

Despite being unable to participate due to the injury, Nourzad was still in Indianapolis for the combine and trusts he had a productive visit.

“From what I was told, one of the most important things about the combine is the medical,” Nourzad said. “They get all the medical stuff done and send it to all 32 teams. My medical was really good, obviously besides my fibula. Besides that, the interviews I had I thought went really well.”

Nourzad called playing at Penn State a “special experience” and said the injury won’t hold him back from taking what he learned in Happy Valley and becoming a valuable piece that can fit at left guard, center, or right guard for any NFL team.

Also from the offensive line is Fashanu, who suffered a minor quad injury at the combine. The senior left tackle said he is around 80% healthy at the moment. Despite not doing any testing, he did participate in an individual workout at Pro Day.

Fashanu is projected to be the first Nittany Lion off the board in most mock drafts and believes he’ll be fully recovered well before the draft.

“It wasn’t significant. I went really hard in my rehab, and earlier this week, I had a little dry run of this, and I felt good enough to the point where I could do some drills,” Fashanu said.

The All-American and Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year is continuing to rehab with trainer Matt Peragine and sticking to his personal plan.

Fashanu completed interviews with between 13 and 18 teams, and despite being hurt, showcased his ability to move at an NFL speed in front of scouts.

Lastly, Dixon, a senior defensive back, hurt his hip at the Senior Bowl and has been unable to work out since then. Aside from the physical issues, Dixon emphasized the emotional toll the injury has taken on him.

“It was tough originally finding out I wouldn’t be able to go through all this,” Dixon said. “There’s a process you look forward to all your life when you play a sport. It was tough at first, but I understood my situation. I understood what I had to do to get back.”

Despite the difficult circumstance, Dixon is keeping a positive attitude through the adversity and is confident his time to showcase himself will come.

“I’ve been through worse. It’s just realizing that my journey isn’t over. My story isn’t over,” he said. “I’m gonna still be everything I want to be.”

The Nittany Lions all expect to be fully healthy by the time the draft rolls around on April 25 and will search to have their names called.

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About the Author

Michael Siroty

Michael Siroty is a freshman from Westfield, New Jersey, majoring in broadcast journalism. When he isn't writing articles or making TikToks for Onward State, Siroty is either taking a peaceful walk around Beaver Stadium or at his summer day camp job. You can contact him to discuss your sushi order or music taste on Instagram and Twitter @msiroty or by email at [email protected].

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