Ty Howle, a former starting offensive lineman and captain at Penn State, returned to his alma mater as a graduate assistant in 2020. Head coach James Franklin wasted little time in promoting Howle to tight ends coach following Tyler Bowen's departure to Jacksonville.
It's a great story, one that Howle likely will continue building through his career. But Howle's immediate goal is to mold a young group of tight ends. All three scholarship players have freshman eligibility and, to their benefit, saw playing time last season.
Here's Howle's scouting report.
The redshirt freshman took over as the primary starter following Pat Freiermuth's injury. He finished fourth on the team with 17 receptions and showed exceptional blocking ability.
"Brenton Strange [did] a great job last year stepping in, and Theo [Johnson] as well, when Pat left," Howle said. "And I'll tell you what: He's gotten better every day. He has good short-area quickness and does some really nice things with the ball in his hands and knows how to play physically."
As a true freshman, Johnson shouldered a larger role as the season progressed, particularly in Penn State's two-tight-end formations. He finished with two catches but made a far bigger impact.
"He's looked great through winter workouts so far," Howle said. "He's a big, long, strong guy who can run and really do some explosive things, so we're really excited about him. He's learned and he's progressed in that year that he's been here as a football IQ guy, as a blocker and as a route-runner."
The true freshman played in two games last season, continuing his transition to tight end.
"Tyler Warren played a lot of high school quarterback and has really progressed in the tight-end position, and is one of the best athletes on the team, in my opinion," Howle said. "He really can run, he's strong, he's physical and he's a guy who doesn't say much but he works. He competes his tail off and has been really, really impressive thus far."
Check out the video above to hear more from Howle.
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