UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The spring ball top performers series has returned, with a position-by-position snapshot of who's standing out and exceeding expectations for the Nittany Lions.
With each passing practice, hear from a different assistant coach for a closer look as Penn State heads toward its annual Blue-White spring game. Up first, Penn State special teams coordinator Phil Galiano checks in for a look at the specialists.
As early as Penn State head coach James Franklin's first spring ball press conference, he named identifying a field goal kicker and kickoff specialist as a top priority given the graduation of senior Tyler Davis.
Among the Nittany Lions with an opportunity to compete for the job this spring, Franklin named sophomore Carson Landis, who Galiano said is doing a bit of everything for the Nittany Lions right now.
"Carson Landis is a guy who is very valuable for us right now, doing really all three," Galiano said. "He's doing field goal, kickoffs and punts and working extremely hard for us. He's coming to work every day. He's working extra and we're asking a lot of him right now. We're asking him to be a field goal guy, to also be a kickoff guy and then to also be our backup punter."
The specialists are of course led by a consistent veteran in Blake Gillikin, who has only continued to build on yet another strong season as the leader of the group.
"Obviously Blake Gillikin is a phenomenal player and it's really been all winter in the winter conditioning and now that he has been here punting for us, and really doing a heck of a job," Galiano said.
Among an excellent battle for the snappers, Galiano also noted Kyle Vasey has continued to stand out for the Nittany Lions since starting all 13 games at long snapper last year.
"Kyle's been a very solid player for us the past couple of years," Galiano said. "He's really working extremely hard, was one of the leaders during winter condition and so far this spring snapping the ball for us and doing a good job."