College Preview: September 11 evening

#18 Penn State at #1 Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Ala., 6 P.M., ESPN


(1st-Round) #61 C/G Stefen Wisniewski (right), 6-3, 298 pounds, 5.16 seconds, Senior

He’s made the transition from guard to center before the ’09 season and seemed to have no problems with the move. This year, he’s getting the chance to move back to guard, a spot he likes more. Wisniewski has the athletic ability to play any of the offensive line positions. He’s a team leader and good in the classroom as well. There are not many negatives with this young man. The Wisniewski name is almost legendary in the Happy Valley. His father Leo played at Penn State in the early ’80s and went on to the NFL and his uncle Steve was a two-time All-America for the Nittany Lions and then had a long NFL career with the Raiders.

(2nd-Round) #22 RB Evan Royster, 6-0, 212 pounds, 4.53 seconds, Redshirt-Senior

Things did not start well for Royster last week against Youngstown State, when he ran 11 times for 40 yards and caught three passes for 58 yards. But history shows he should be able to turn that around fairly quickly, based on his status now as the seventh leading rusher in Penn State history with 2,958 yards. (He just passed Larry Johnson at 2,953 yards). He needs just 441 yards to become the school’s career rushing leader. Last year, he was second in the Big 10 Conference with 1,169 rushing yards on 205 carries with six TD runs.

(2nd-Round) #81 DE Jack Crawford, 6-4 ½, 256 pounds, 4.67 seconds, Junior

During the time between the end of the ’09 season and last week’s season opener against Youngstown State, Crawford added 15 pounds without losing any of his speed and quickness. He had 5.5 sacks last year in his first season as a starter. He’s played football for only five years; born in London, England, he moved to the States hoping to play basketball. Instead, he became one of the highest rated defensive players in the state of New Jersey. There’s a big upside with Crawford.



(1st-Round) #8 WR Julio Jones, 6-4, 220 pounds, 4.49 seconds, Junior

Coming into the season, his third with the Tide, he had started 27 games. He set every freshman receiving record in Alabama history and then was part of last year’s national championship team. In two seasons, he’s caught 101 passes for 1,520 yards and eight TDs. He worked out of the Wildcat, taking the snap in the backfield last year. In last week’s season opener, Jones caught six passes for 93 yards including a one-handed catch in the end zone. He also had one rush for 13 yards against San Jose State.

(1st-Round) #22, RB Mark Ingram, 5-10, 215 pounds, 4.48 seconds, Junior

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Ingram returns for his third season at Alabama and ready to show his power and quickness, the unique combination that allowed him to run for 1,658 yards in ’09. In his first two seasons, Ingram racked up 414 carries for 2,386 yards and 29 rushing TDs. He’s also caught 39 passes for 388 yards and three TDs. Ingram had surgery on his left knee last week and he’s not returned to the field and there’s a chance he’ll miss this game against Penn State. But he should be back after that.

(1st-Round) #30 ILB Don’ta Hightower, 6-4, 258 pounds, 4.74 seconds, Junior

Coming off a knee injury (torn left ACL) that ended his ’09 season after four games, Hightower has made 16 starts at the weak side linebacker spot. He has 80 career tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and one sack. He had three tackles in the season opener against San Jose State. He’s moved to the middle linebacker spot in ’10, where he’s handling all the defensive calls as well; basically he’s stepped in for the now departed Rolando McClain.

(2nd-Round) #77 OT James Carpenter, 6-4 ½, 300 pounds, 5.36 seconds, Senior

He joined the Crimson Tide last year after playing two seasons of JUCO ball at Coffeyville Community College, where he earned first-team All-Jayhawk Conference honors. Last year he started nine games at left tackle, and that’s where he’s playing this year. But some NFL teams view his size and strength as a plus inside at guard rather than on the edge. Carpenter is a hustle and hard work guy and that makes up for any deficiencies.

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