No. 97: Matt Stankiewitch, No. 54, C, Penn State
2011 Stats: 13 starts at center
Stankiewitch comes into 2012 as the unquestioned veteran leader of the Penn State offensive line. He's the only returning starter, he's a fifth-year senior who's already in grad school (see: smart) and his guidance is going to be crucial to the development of the otherwise young line. Stankiewitch is also pretty good at the game itself, especially in moving the point of attack in the run game.
Stankiewitch struggled at times in pass protection and blitz recognition, and with a new coach and new teammates around him that's something he's going to have to work especially hard at fixing.
Also, the outdated strength and conditioning program at Penn State has been completely overhauled with new strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald. This means he's going to be in the best shape of his career (not a weakness), but also that he's still about four years behind the other fifth-year players in the conference in terms of getting the best training (definitely a weakness). As it is, Stankiewitch is a marginal NFL prospect at this point.
Stankiewitch's linemates are the wild cards on this offense; Stankiewitch is not. He's going to be a steadying influence on a line that continues to grow and learn, and if he improves his reads he's going to make some noise in the All-Big Ten voting at the end of the year. Penn State's line—and offense as a whole—may struggle too much for individual voting glory (this is how it is for linemen), but Stankiewitch should be solid regardless of the postseason recognition.
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