Breakout prospect No. 7: Miles Dieffenbach

I’m taking a shot in the dark here.

I really expected redshirt freshman offensive lineman Miles Dieffenbach to battle junior Matt Stankiewitch for the starting center spot in the spring, but it looks like the job is Stankiewitch’s to lose for now. I still think Dieffenbach will be a player on the Nittany Lions’ offensive line this fall though.

Technically sound with good instincts, Dieffenbach is young so there is still a ways to go physically. What I like about him is he’s versatile enough to play center or guard, where Penn State needs to replace two of three starters with Johnnie Troutman the lone returner, and after watching his high school film you can see that Dieffenbach brings an attitude and nastiness that Penn State’s O-line has sorely missed the past few years.

While departed four-year starter Stefen Wisniewski, who is off to the NFL, was a very good player, he lacked that fire to get his line mates fired up. That’s not a dig at Wisniewski. It’s just who he was, or wasn’t to be more precise. The way Dieffenbach plays can be infectious to others on the line and that’s a good thing. With Penn State having to replace two starters on the inside, the competition should really be open. Right now Dieffenbach is on the outside looking in, but dont’ be shocked if that changes between now and the season opener against Indiana State on Sept. 3.

This is the last installment of my breakout players. I’ll be back Sunday with the first of seven players whose time to shine is now or never. That will lead us up to next Saturday’s Blue-White game and then after that I’ll talk about what I feel were the successes and failures of spring practice.

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