Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu is returning to the Nittany Lions program for the 2023 campaign. Fashanu is forgoing an opportunity to enter the 2023 NFL Draft. It’s a curious decision for a player that carried the potential to be the first offensive tackle drafted in April.
The No. 28 overall player and fifth overall offensive tackle on our latest TDN100 update, Fashanu has enjoyed an excellent season as a redshirt sophomore. He’d swiftly risen up draft boards despite playing just 85 career snaps prior to 2022.
Fashanu hasn’t allowed a sack this season. The former Gonzaga College High standout has been credited with allowing one hit and six hurries on 299 pass-blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus. Fashanu put forth excellent performances against Michigan and Ohio State this year. Those two showcases served as resume tapes for Fashanu’s pre-draft stock. He passed both tests with flying colors and many believe an NFL GM picking within the top 10 would have pulled the trigger on Fashanu’s potential.
Fashanu is an easy mover. His athletic abilities allow him to quickly gain control of pass-rushing reps. Fashanu’s crisp feet, balance, and length help project him as a legitimate blindside protector at the next level, particularly in a pass-happy pro offense.
A Waldorf, Maryland native, Fashanu clearly believes he requires further seasoning before making a jump to the professional ranks, however. It’s worth acknowledging Fashanu’s tape often showcases an ascending talent that’s not yet a finished product. Fashanu’s physical skill set and natural abilities often jump off the screen.
Fashanu’s techniques remain a work in progress. It’s understandable given his age (19) and overall lack of experience (nine career starts, eight of which occurred this season). Fashanu will work on improving technicalities such as hand placement and the timing of his strike.
Fashanu will now receive additional opportunities to clean up the messier aspects of his game under the expected tutelage of offensive line coach Phil Trautwein and head coach James Franklin. He’ll also receive his degree in supply chain management. ESPN’s report indicates Fashanu then plans to pursue his master’s.
Listed at 6-foot-6 and 308 pounds, Fashanu hasn’t played since suffering an undisclosed injury against the Buckeyes in October. He’s missed four consecutive contests. The injury isn’t a serious one and allegedly had no bearing on Fashanu’s return to Penn State.
Fashanu’s decision throws a wrench in draft boards and mock drafts across the nation. Georgia’s Broderick Jones and Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski are legitimate candidates to become the first offensive tackle off the board. Both players should benefit from Fashanu’s return to school. Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. and Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan also remain in the first-round mix. Several tackles will receive a bump up the board.
Olu Fashanu now possesses an opportunity to become a more complete and experienced prospect while solidifying his positioning as a top 5-10 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. But exposure to potential injury or regression could end up having the opposite effect. His shocking decision has a wide-ranging impact on 2023 draft boards. NFL decision-makers are forced to react accordingly.
- Feb 07, 2023
- Feb 07, 2023