Gabe Nwosu began his special teams journey in middle school and hasn’t looked back since. The 6’6″ kicker/punter is Penn State football’s newest addition to its Class of 2021 and joins Sander Sahaydak in an intimidating specialist duo.
While some may think Nwosu should utilize his height and overall size at a different position, kicking has always been his forte.
“From the beginning, I was always a kicker/punter. I followed the steps my brothers put in place for me. Both of them are kickers and punters,” Nwosu said. “Although I like the dynamic the other positions bring to the game, my interest is in kicking and punting.”
In fact, it’s the future Nittany Lion’s size that many think will carry him a long way in his football career. Kohl’s Kicking, the nationwide authority on kicking and punting recruits, believes Nwosu’s frame allows him to hit impressive kickoffs, field goals, and punts.
Kohl’s also has him rated as the No. 12 punter and No. 15 kicker in the nation, giving him “NFL potential” at either position.
Like many other special teamers, Nwosu grew up playing soccer. The Maryland native explained that he’s played soccer since he was three years old, but turned to football in eighth grade. While he really enjoyed kicking and punting, he didn’t realize he could do it at the collegiate level.
Things changed when Nwosu attended a scholarship camp hosted by Kohl’s Kicking in 2019.
“Over 500 people attended this camp and I came 10th overall in punting,” Nwosu said. “I was able to chart better than those who were already committed. That’s when I realized I could become a collegiate specialist.”
Since then, Nwosu received scholarship offers from the likes of Fordham and William & Mary, but Penn State was the obvious choice in his eyes.
“Who wouldn’t want to go to Penn State? Since eighth grade when I started playing football, Penn State was always one of my top choices,” Nwosu said.
Nwosu won’t arrive at his dream school until the fall of 2021, but he’s doing his best to stay in contact with his future teammates. He hasn’t met Sahaydak yet, a fellow special teams recruit in Penn State’s 2021 class, but the two have managed to communicate quite a bit.
Nwosu explained that he’s trained with Nittany Lion kicker Rafael Checca before. The pair likely would’ve competed and trained over the summer, but the coronavirus put those plans on hold.
In addition to Nwosu, there is no shortage of special teams talent in Penn State’s future. Sahaydak is considered the one of the top kickers in the class, while junior Jake Pinegar had a big 2019 campaign with 11 converted field goals.
However, Nwosu may take after Jordan Stout the most. Along with long-range field goals and kickoffs, the junior will now likely enjoy a role as punter during the 2020 season.
Special teams coordinator Joe Lorig clearly doesn’t mind players who can do it all, as Nwosu explained that the second-year coach expects him to work as a kicker/punter combo when he arrives next fall.
However many special teams roles Nwosu may have ahead of him, there’s no doubt he’s excited to join Penn State in the near future.
“I had this project in middle school where I had to choose five colleges that I would want to attend, and Penn State was [right there]. This wasn’t a hard decision. I see this as a great opportunity for both academics and athletics,” Nwosu said.