Penn State head coach James Franklin sat down with Pittsburgh Steelers team reporter Missi Matthews over the weekend to provide a scouting report on the club’s newest tight end and former Nittany Lion Pat Freiermuth.
Franklin started off the conversation raving about Freiermuth’s leadership, which he believes begins with his love of the game.
“I think the first thing is Pat loves football, comes from a football family,” Franklin said. “I think there’s a lot of people nowadays that like football and like the things that come from football. Pat loves the game.
With regards to his leadership style, Franklin says Freiermuth leads and views the game through a coach’s lens.
“I think he’s got a really good perspective,” Franklin added. “He’s a guy that can get along with anybody in the locker room. But I think he kind of views things and looks at the game, from a leadership standpoint, very similar to how coaches do. He’s what I would describe as a culture driver. You can’t have enough guys like Pat in your locker room. He instantly, without making any plays on the field, he instantly makes your organization better just by the way he goes about his business.
Freiermuth’s leadership did not go unnoticed by his teammates either, as he was twice named a team captain over his career.
With regard to Freiermuth’s on-field capabilities, Franklin championed his reliability and ability to catch the ball through contact.
“I think the biggest thing is in the passing game, he’s a contested catch guy, which those I think are really valuable at that position,” Franklin said. “If you look at maybe some of the other tight ends or you look at some of the other matchup guys in the NFL, Pat’s gonna be the guy that he’s gonna have his production just being that unbelievably reliable guy, for Ben or whoever it may be to go to on third down or as a second outlet.”
He also believe Freiermuth will be an outstanding red zone target for Ben Roethlisberger, and reiterated the tight end’s commitment to the run game and understanding his role.
“Where he made a killing for us is in the red zone,” Franklin added. “He just made so many plays, he made so many contested catches and was just so productive. And then he understands being a more of a complete tight end. Some of these guys that they’re calling tight ends now out of college, they’re not really playing tight end, they’re big wideouts. And Pat understands the importance of the running game and the tight end’s role in it.”
Freiermuth caught 92 passes for 1,185 yards and 16 touchdowns over his Penn State career.
He was a First-Team All-Big Ten selection and was named the conference’s Kwalick–Clark Tight End of the Year in 2020.