Looking at this year’s recruiting class, one aspect really stuck out about the incoming recruits. Size. I can’t recall seeing a class with five extremely large players like this one. One of those recruits struck me immediately as I’m sure he did for you as well. That is Shawn Oakman. Oakman is a 6’8″ 250 lb DE recruit. Other wise known as huge for a football player . Oakman’s body type sounds more like a power forward for a basketball team. Actually, that’s just what he is. Oakman is the starting PF for his high school and averages a double double per game. He is the exact same size as NBA All-Star Lebron James.
When I first saw his size I immediately thought of Cam Newton. Newton is a 6’6″ 250 lb quarterback who can run right over defenders. Auburn’s success this past season was a direct result of the athletic ability of Newton. Newton was a great passer and an even better rusher. With every scramble came a collective gasp from the Auburn faithful. There were many “did you see that” moments. On third and short or fourth and short, Newton simply used his body to get the first down. Being 6’6″ he simply had to lay down behind the center to pick up the first down. This kept the Auburn defense off the field and Cam Newton in control of the game. Then if you factor in his power and ability to explode through tackles it is clear why he was so successful.
Oakman is almost identical in body shape to Newton except he is even bigger.
As a runner everyone will be interested in his 40 time. Oakman has been timed at 4.8 while Newton has been timed at 4.5 – 4.7. There is not much of a difference between 4.8 and 4.7 or even 4.6. Oakman should have no problem getting faster once he starts training at Penn State. Can you imagine a 6’8″ 250lbs man running at 4.6 speed towards you?
Obviously, I am not expecting Oakman to become the next Cam Newton. I certainly am not suggesting that Oakman try to complete a pass. I am suggesting that with a player who has his size, speed and power why not be unconventional and run the wildcat or let him scramble on 3rd and short for a first down. We saw in 2010 that on third and short with less than 2 yards to go, Royster really was unable to power through the defense. Royster is only 6’1″ 223lbs. Oakman would simply have to fall forward.
In the summer, Penn State can work with Oakman on ball control and the select plays for him to run. As a basketball player who was recruited by Division 1 schools, we should expect nothing less than a man whose hands will absolutely swallow the ball. Once he fine tunes how to carry it high and tight, putting his head down, builds some more lateral movements and quickness, he could be tough to stop. Oakman has most of those skills already as he did play wide receiver in high school as well.
Penn State has really gotten away from using the wildcat and quarterback keepers since Daryll Clark’s first year as the starter in 2008. If Joe Pa is worried about a quarterback getting hurt, here is your alternative. With Oakman running, Bolden and McGloin can just wait and say thank you when he is done.
Oakman will be great as a defensive end and if his future does not have him spending time at the QB slot, I won’t lose any sleep over it. For an offense that looks stuck in the 70s this could be an interesting test. Unfortunately, I have come to expect nothing exciting from Galen Hall and Jay Paterno.
In college football today, the scrambling quarterback has success. Just take Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and Michael Robinson for example. Everyone at Penn State remembers the “M-Rob Hit” against Minnesota in 2005. That single play alone set the tempo for Penn State the rest of the season and sent a message to the team. In 2011, another message needs to be sent from our offense. I wouldn’t mind seeing it from a 6’8″ 250 lb freshman. Would you?
Oakman’s Scout.com profile(click)