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Which Penn State receiver is impressing Chuck Losey with improved speed?

Greg Pickelby:Greg Pickel06/14/24

GregPickel

Penn State football head strength and conditioning coach Chuck Losey’s media sessions never focus on the negative. You are not going to learn who is too slow, not lifting enough, or is not eating enough to make the gains needed to see the field. But, every now and again, the longtime member of head coach James Franklin’s staff will point out a flaw in the context of explaining how it was improved on. It’s exactly what he did Thursday when asked about graduate receiver Julian Fleming. Hopes are high that the former five-star recruit and Ohio State Buckeye will be part of the revitalization of the oft-dogged Nittany Lions receivers room. He had a good spring but may not have flashed as some expected him too. That could very well change come the fall, though. And movement, in a good way, is the reason why.

“I’m impressed with him,” Losey said. “He got here, he’s a big body guy. He didn’t time well when he first got here. That’s not a knock on him by any means, because he is such a big body. But, when you compare his initial baseline testings, compared to the rest of our wideouts, the way they move at that position, he was definitely a step slower. He’s closed the gap. He’s done a great job. Speed is a huge thing for him that we addressed early. And he’s in a really good spot right now. I see his body, he’s leaned down. He’s in a really good spot.”

More: Losey: Penn State summer leadership crucial; LB stands out

At 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, Fleming is the biggest wide receiver on the Penn State roster. So, to Losey’s point, he shouldn’t necessarily be expected to run in the same time zone as, say, 6-foot, 185-pound junior Omari Evans. He does not need to be a burner, either. But, to play in any offense, and especially Andy Kotelnick’s attack, your feet cannot be cinderblocks. That’s not to say Fleming’s were, of course. But, at the same time, Losey did not pick that improvement to note out of thin air. It was clearly a focus and evidently, things are moving in the right direction, which is good news for Penn State.

Things are going well off the field for Fleming, too. While a big focus this offseason has been on the receivers improving paired with a better dynamic between the quarterbacks and the pass catchers, it’s also worth noting that room leadership has been an area of concentration, too. And, the newcomer is doing well in that regard, too, along with returner Liam Clifford.

“Julian’s been really good in that room since he came in at the mid year point,” Losey said. “Just having an older presence in there, for those other guys, has been great. But I’m really, really happy with Liam Clifford, in his development, physically and maturity, and his ability to kind of take ownership as a leader in the room, take those younger guys and just basically tell them what to do. And give them guidance. I think Liam has found a voice in that sense, and he’s taken a leadership role. And, I think having Julian around, another guy who’s an older guy in the room with him, I think that’s helped Liam.”

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