Locals Develop This Spring For Penn State

April 15, 2019 GMT

STATE COLLEGE — It’s fitting, perhaps, they stood side-by-side for so much of Saturday afternoon. Neither of them got to Penn State, after all, the way so many who surrounded them did. Both of them have a long way to go to learn the offense, to earn playing time, to fulfill their goals. They had their bright moments in the Nittany Lions’ Blue-White Game, but for Kaleb Konigus and Anthony Whigan, it was simply the end to a means. Both came into Penn State’s 15 spring practices looking to show they belong. Both impressed their teammates. “They definitely had some flash moments,” defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher said. “They’re both eager to work, eager to learn. I’ve seen great things from them. I’ve seen them make tremendous strides.” A year ago, making a run even at some scout team work didn’t seem likely for Konigus. After all, he wasn’t even offered a chance to walk on as a true freshman last fall. But the 6-foot-2, 297-pound former wrestling star at Lake-Lehman earned his chance to at least compete last fall during walk-on tryouts. He started at right guard for the White team and, later in the game, even got some snaps at center, marking the fourth consecutive year a lineman from Lake-Lehman started the Blue-White Game for Penn State. Connor McGovern, who entered the NFL Draft in January, started the last three. To Konigus’ right, Whigan got his first action for the Nittany Lions at right tackle, the position he said he wanted to compete for playing time at in December as he finished up a dominant sophomore season at Lackawanna College. “He has been someone who has come in and just worked very, very hard,” defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos said of Whigan. “I think his growth came on later in spring ball, but he has definitely gotten a lot better. “He came in a lot more polished than the average lineman.” How they’ll fit in this fall remains to be seen. Head coach James Franklin said he expects more of a rotation among linemen this year than fans have seen in the past, when only injury seemed to allow the starting five to be permeated. Just a redshirt freshman, Konigus has ground to make up in the battle for playing time against the three veteran guards, senior Steven Gonzalez and redshirt sophomores C.J. Thorpe and Mike Miranda. Redshirt freshman Rasheed Walker got the start at left tackle for the Blue team, which featured the first-team offensive line. But, with Will Fries at right tackle, Whigan is likely competing with Des Holmes for the top backup spot behind both starters. “They push each other, and we push them too,” Mustipher said. “When you go up against a great defensive line every day, you’re going to learn what you can do and what you can’t do. They’re working hard, and I think the offensive line is going to be great.” Contact the writer:; 570-348-9125; @psubst on Twitter