Veteran lineman pushing for Penn State’s starting center role

Entering the offseason workout programs, Penn State will be searching to find a starting center replacement for the second year in a row.

After Juice Scruggs went to the NFL, Hunter Nourzad stepped into that role last season.

With Nourzad graduated, it seems like another veteran on the offensive line unit is looking to step up and take over the starting center job.

According to just about every teammate that talked to Tyler Donohue of 247Sports, everyone can agree that Nick Dawkins is a hard worker and great leader (subscription required).

He was once being considered for a team captain role despite being a backup on the offensive line.

Now, it seems like he’s ready to finally get the starting reps throughout an entire season that’s he worked for. This will be his fifth year within the program and he’s yet to record a start.

That hasn’t stopped him from being a tireless worker and leader behind the scenes.

Offensive line coach Phil Trautwein told Donohue that when Dawkins talks, everyone listens. All-American tackle, Olu Fashanu, says the veteran lineman is one of the hardest-working people he knows and puts a ton of time into getting better at his craft.

Dawkins will have a chance to earn it.

He has gotten game reps at center even if it hasn’t been as a starter.

This should give him the edge over his internal candidates that are likely a much more raw product based on lack of experience at the position.

Dawkins got off to a good start during winter workouts, being recognized by Trautwein as one of their “competitors of the day.”

It will be up to the fifth-year senior to determine if he can finally take control of that position this offseason and go into 2024-25 as the firm starter.

Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire