Player Spotlight: Steven Gonzalez
History repeats itself for Steven Gonzalez, a Penn State offensive lineman, who will be playing again against Rutgers almost a year after his first career start against the Scarlet Knights. Ironically, Gonzalez was almost a potential Rutgers commit, but chose Penn State for deeper reasons.
Gonzalez said, “I just felt like it was a fit here. When I came to Penn State, I felt like everything was just right for me. Not bashing Rutgers - Rutgers is a great program and you know they have their successes academically and you know football wise, but I just felt like Penn State was the better fit for me.”
Luckily for Penn State they added Gonzalez to their roster in 2015 and after a year of training, Gonzalez saw the field for the first time in 2016 as a redshirt freshman. Soon after he first played for the Nittany Lions, Gonzalez earned himself a starting spot against Rutgers.
Altogether, Gonzalez played in 11 games in 2016 and was most notably a part of Penn State’s Rose Bowl team that was the first team in the game’s storied history to have a 175-yard rusher and receiver in the game. The Penn State offense gained a gaudy 465 yards of total offense, the fourth highest total in Penn State bowl history.
With a year of experience, in 2017 Gonzalez is playing with more confidence and is meshing better with his offensive line mates.
“I’ve just grown - I’ve just gained more confidence in my game. I think, you know, last year, I mean towards the beginning, I wasn’t really confident and you know, it took a while to build up and I wasn’t really clicking with the offense line. Like, I was kind of a lone wolf like [Offensive Line Coach Matt] Limegrover had said before and I think this year I just made a lot of changes. You know, obviously with my faith, obviously in just believing in the process and believing that, you know, in my abilities and just the confidence grew, and you know it’s product now. And I’ve been playing pretty decently,” Gonzalez said.
Earlier in the season, Coach James Franklin commented on Gonzalez, saying that he has been more consistent this in 2017 and that his increased confidence and hard work is paying off. On the field, Coach Limegrover and other assistants have worked to bring the nasty side out of the 6-foot-4 and 341 pound player. The coaches efforts, combined with those of Gonzalez’s have enabled Gonzalez to start the majority of the games as he continues to add to his football resume. Some of Gonzalez’s most notable efforts have earned him awards, including being named the coaching staff’s Offensive Player of the Week and twice being selected for the Pro Football Focus Big Ten Team of the Week, following his efforts against Iowa and Indiana.
This week, Steven Gonzalez, along with the rest of the Nittany Lions, are looking to break their losing streak at their homecoming game against the Scarlet Knights.
Devon D’Andrea is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.