Penn State is running a double-session practice Tuesday. The talk of the morning session was a bit of a shakeup in the secondary.
Redshirt freshman Drew Astorino, who had been seeing second-team reps behind free safety Anthony Scirrotto, moved over to strong safety and saw the bulk of first-team reps. Senior Mark Rubin had been seeing most of the first-team action at strong safety.
Astorino arrived at Penn State in 2007 among little fanfare, but has wasted no time making an impression in the program. He rose to second team behind Scirrotto last year. But since the veteran was comfortable handling a lot of snaps, the staff was able to redshirt Astorino. Still, Astorino made several road trips, just so he could get comfortable in road environments.
He played safety and corner in the spring because the staff wanted to make sure he was ready to go in case injuries hit either position.
"Drew is definitely a guy you can easily overlook," one observer said. "He's not physically imposing, but he's all-out on every snap. He's a guy who'll sacrifice his body to make the play."
Another observer said Astorino "is the best player in the secondary."
During a summer interview with FOS, Scirrotto called Astorino the "best tackler on the team" and said he has the best "feet" in the secondary.
Astorino was a two-sport star in high school who led his team to PIAA AAA football and basketball championships as a senior. "He's one of those guys who digs deep and makes the players around him better just by the way he plays," another observer said.
He is also strong on the technical side of things. As one observer explained, "He's great in pursuit drills and is tight on the wrap-up."
The 5-foot-11 Astorino arrived at Penn State weighing only 175 pounds. But he has since bulked up to 194.
Get an exclusive inside report on a fresh face in the secondary who is turning heads during the preseason.
Get an exclusive inside report on a fresh face in the secondary who is turning heads.