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Penn State's Olu Fashanu Picked Up Degree Before Graduating to the NFL

Chance to Block for Jets QB Aaron Rodgers ‘Would Be Awesome’

Penn State offensive lineman Olu Fashanu speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

For all his accolades on the football field -- All-American and Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Big Ten this past season -- Olumuyiwa Fashanu said at last week's NFL Combine that he is most excited about what he accomplished off the field.

"My proudest moment at Penn State came this past December being able to graduate a semester early," said the left tackle. He added: "Going back for an extra year I had the opportunity to graduate."

The two-year starter announced for the 2023 NFL Draft and was projected as a possible first-round selection. He said he changed his mind when he realized a diploma awaited him if he stuck around State College, PA. He certainly didn't hurt his prospects this a year later.

"Fashanu would have been a top-10 pick if he entered last year's NFL Draft, but he elected to return and didn't disappoint in 2023 for the Nittany Lions," Dane Brugler of The Athletic wrote in late December. "He is among the best pass-protecting left-tackle prospects that I have scouted over the last decade."

He added: "He showed steady improvement throughout this past season and scouts love the development he has shown for a player who only turned 21 years old earlier this month [Dec. 9].

The Jets were among the several teams Fashanu met with in Indianapolis and he said he had "a very good meeting" and came away from the chat after he received some "great advice."

And as he politely answered questions from the media with responses that began with emphatic "Yes sirs," he graciously handled the ubiquitous question asked of nearly every offensive lineman at the Combine: What would it mean to play with QB Aaron Rodgers?

"It would be awesome," he said. "Aaron Rodgers is a legend of the game and to have the opportunity to block for him would be awesome."

He said that before he began his battery of interviews "I didn't know what to expect going into the interview, there were nerves, but we just talked football and I love football and it all went great."

At 6-6, 312, Fashanu knows he'll probably have to bulk up a bit to deal competently against some of the NFL's top edge rushers, especially if it means he gets to start at left tackle protecting his QB's blindside.

"In the NFL, I could point out a guy like Maxx Crosby [of Las Vegas] who will get a lot of wins with his first pass rush," Fashanu said. "A lot of success comes with the second move. They get off the ball, the O-lineman has hands on him, he gets the hands off and finishes the play or makes the sack. The way I counter those high-energy guys has to do with my grip strength. Once I get my hands on the D-lineman, the play is not over until that ball's in the air."

He added: "Get-off is the No. 1 thing. If you have a great get-off you're good for 80 percent of the plays."

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