Now or never No. 1: Brandon Ware

This is the first installment of my players whose time to prove themselves at Penn State is now or never and No.1 was an easy choice.

Perhaps no player has frustrated die-hard Penn State fans than junior defensive tackle Brandon Ware. Casual Nittany Lions fans might not even know who Ware is, but not the ones who bleed blue and white.

And under-the-radar prospect out of Harrisburg, Ware had all the attributes to be a dominant defensive tackle. At 6-foot-4 and 350 pounds, Ware had all the measureables and the quickness rare for a man his size, but that weight and some academic issues scared off most colleges. Larry Johnson, one of the nation’s best defensive line coaches, convinced Joe Paterno to bring in Ware, but it’s been mostly heartache since.

Ware has struggled across the board between his weight, grades and injuries. A broken foot suffered in preseason practice all but ruined his redshirt freshman year in 2008, and weight problems and academic struggles limited him to all of two tackles in 11 games last season.

There is hope though. Paterno spoke highly of Ware at Penn State’s spring media day two Fridays ago, even going as far to say that Ware can be a good football player once his time at Penn State ends. Ware is down to 318 pounds and hopes to play this fall between 310-315. With Ollie Ogbu gone and little experience behind Devon Still and Jordan Hill, Ware’s presence would be a huge boost for a defensive line looking to bounce back from a disappointing season. The same can be said about Ware’s Penn State career. So far at least.

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