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By Chris Morelli
According to cornerback D'Anton Lynn, it's time.
Time to step up and make plays.
Time to be a leader on defense.
In short, it's time to start.
When Penn State begins its 2009 campaign on Sept. 5 against Akron at Beaver Stadium, Lynn doesn't want to be on the sidelines. He wants to be on the field.
If he's healthy, A.J. Wallace will be starting at one of the cornerback slots. That means either Knowledge Timmons or Lynn will be starting at the other corner.
Lynn is hoping he's the man.
"I expect to start," Lynn said. "Right now, it's me and Knowledge competing for that other cornerback spot. We'll see how that goes."
According to Lynn, he's had a good spring. Things are coming easier to him this season, which is a good sign.
"It's gone really good so far. Stuff is coming a lot easier for me in the spring than it did in the fall. The reads, the speed of the game, everything," Lynn said. "At first there was a huge learning curve. To come in here and cover these Division I athletes, make reads and stuff like that, it was a big adjustment."
To fully understand Lynn's story, one needs a little background.
Just getting Lynn to come to Penn State was a task in itself. Then-secondary coach Brian Norwood was recruiting Lynn. After giving Penn State a verbal commitment, Norwood bolted for the defensive coordinator post at Baylor.
Just like that, Lynn began to have doubts if Happy Valley was the place for him after all.
Did he have second thoughts?
"I did," Lynn said. "After Brian left, I took my official to Texas Tech and Oklahoma. I told the Penn State coaches about it. I even took an unofficial to Baylor."
Norwood's departure hit Lynn pretty hard.
"It was pretty tough. If he hadn't been recruiting me, I don't think I would have taken the trip here in the first place," Lynn said. "When he left, it was kinda tough. I was trying to decide 'should I really still be going here or not?'"
Realizing that Lynn's verbal was in jeopardy, Penn State scurried to secure him.
Norwood's replacement, Kermit Buggs, then began recruiting Lynn.
"After that, coach Buggs started recruiting me. It was like he came down every single week after coach Norwood left. It made me feel wanted. It made me feel real good," Lynn said.
After that, Lynn never had another doubt.
Once he got on campus, Lynn began working hard. His routine consisted of practice, watching film and working out.
"I had to do a lot of work in the weight room. I gained almost 20 pounds. I have no idea how I gained that much weight. Winter workouts were real intense and I got so much stronger. I naturally gained the weight. I wasn't even trying to. It just happened," Lynn said.
Right now, Lynn stands 6-foot-1 and weighs in at 200 pounds. He's much more muscular than he was during his days at Celina High School, where he helped his squad to a 21-14 win over China Spring in the Texas State 3A Division Championships on Dec. 22, 2008.
In that game, Lynn fractured his scapula while making a tackle on the first play of the contest. Still, he played through the pain and was able to handle China Spring's top receiver.
According to Lynn, the games are completely different. The collegiate game is much, much faster than high school, he said.
"It's the speed of everything. How fast plays develop. You've got quarterbacks throwing balls to receivers before they come out of their break. You have to react much faster in college than you do in high school," Lynn said.
While he's still a young player - he's just a sophomore - Lynn has turned heads this spring. He's making other members of the defense sit up and take notice.
Defensive end Jack Crawford has been impressed with what he's seen thus far.
"He's an outstanding player. I think he surprised a lot of people with how athletic he is. He is ridiculously fast. If you watch his high school highlight tape, then you'd have an idea of how he played throughout the spring," Crawford said. "He hasn't lost a beat. He runs with the ones in spring practice and he just continues to perform. He won't take a play off, he doesn't complain, he'll just go perform."
That's the kind of stuff the coaching staff loves, so don't be surprised to see Lynn in the starting lineup come Sept. 5.
In fact, he's planning on it.
"First game, it's going to be real exciting," he said. "Playing before all those people is going to be real exciting. I'll be nervous before the game, but after that first snap it all goes away."
Here's a look at this issue's table of contents:
4 - Mailbag
5-6 - Phil's Corner
- An inside look at who came away as the winners, and losers, of this spring's position battles.
7-19 - Blue-White Game Coverage
- Didn't get a chance to catch the game? Blue White Illustrated has you covered with complete game analysis, stats and more.
20-22 - Up Close and Personals: Christian Kunts, Curtis Drake, Darrell Givens
23-24 - NFL Draft breakdown:
- Aaron Maybin, Derrick Williams, Deon Butler, Rich Ohrnberger and A.Q. Shipley all chosen in this year's NFL Draft.
25 - D'Anton Lynn Feature
27 - Derek Moye
- After two years behind Penn State's best trio of wideouts in school history, Moye is ready to make his mark.
28-29 - Football recruiting
- Top targets from Penn State's class of 2010 were in attendance for the Blue-White Game.
30-31 - Cael Sanderson Hire
- Only a few weeks after the dismissal of Troy Sunderland, Penn State wrestling made a huge splash with the hiring of Olympic gold-medalist Cael Sanderson.
Plus, as always, don't miss Varsity Views, Scorecard and The Tail End!
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