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Spring Ball Top Performers: Defensive Line

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's top performers series returns for another position-by-position look inside spring practice. For Nittany Lion associate head coach Sean Spencer, Penn State's defensive line is once again reloading following the departure of several veteran leaders.

"We have a model here, it's reload and we're not going to rebuild, we're going to reload," Spencer said. "It's a mindset that we try to create with the guys, it's the next man up mentality."

As Penn State head coach James Franklin noted in his midweek media session Wednesday, Penn State is in good position at defensive end, but has some progress to make when it comes to developing youth a defensive tackle.

Standing out in the group of developing defensive tackles though, Spencer was quick to point to the progress of Kevin Givens, calling him one of the most versatile Nittany Lions he has seen since current Detroit Lions defensive lineman Anthony Zettel. 

"We can play him at three technique, we can play him at nose guard, we can play him at defensive end and that's all coming about now in spring practice," Spencer said. "We've played him at multiple positions."

Outside of Givens, Spencer noted redshirt defensive tackles Antonio Shelton and Fred Hansard have also stepped forward in spring practice.

"A guy like Antonio Shelton, he's learning how to take the weight room to the field," Spencer said. "He's a 312-pound guy, he's big, he can move, he's pretty, athletic, fast in trenches and he has taken that from the weight room to the field and we're really excited about his progress."

In yesterday's media session defensive end Ryan Buchholz also pointed to the progress Shelton and Hansard have both made through 11 of Penn State's 15 spring practices. 

"Fred's been killing it," Buchholz said. "He's a big guy, I think he's like 317 pounds now. Antonio has been working on his speed and his power. Those guys have really been stepping up and I think they'll be seeing the field this year."

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