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Lions’ evolving O-line should thrive on offseason competition

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Seated at his locker after the Nittany Lions capped the season in the Fiesta Bowl, Ryan Bates pointed to his left and to his right. Around the room Bates went, rattling off the names of one offensive lineman after the next.

“We got a lot of guys coming back. We got this big guy," Bates said pointing over his shoulder to tackle Chasz Wright. "We got Will Fries, (Michal) Menet, Steve (Gonzalez), Connor (McGovern). We’re losing two great guys in Brendan Mahon and Andrew Nelson and they’re two of my best friends and it’s hard to see them go, but they’ve got big things waiting for them at the next level. ... But, we have a lot of potential coming back next year.”

Bates' list could've gone on and on, extending to the four freshmen linemen who took redshirts plus the three signees who since the Fiesta Bowl officially joined Penn State's 2018 class. The Nittany Lions, while in the midst of winter workouts, can still continue sorting out what types of linemen they have long before spring ball begins.

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