After playing in just six games last season as a redshirt freshman, defensive end C.J. Olaniyan has higher hopes for his sophomore campaign.
Olaniyan is looking to get into the rotation at defensive end this fall.
"My goal is to get better each day, each play. Whether that's watching film, recovering with my body or just going out there and playing fast, I'm just going to go out there and let things fall where they may," he said. "I'm playing behind Sean Stanley right now. I'm just trying to do my best."
Now conservatively listed at 6-foot-3, 248-pounds, Olaniyan credited Craig Fitzgerald's strength and conditioning program for getting him to a suitable weight to play defensive end.
"With this new program, it's been a lot different for me because I've been doing a lot of stuff that I've never done before," he said. "It's been real helpful for my growth and improvement. I've put on a lot of weight. I feel a lot better, stronger and faster because of the stuff that we've been doing."
Without his family around him like many of his local teammates, Olanyian returned to Michigan last month to debate whether or not he would return to Penn State. After consulting for a few days with his parents, he made the choice to come back.
"When I was trying to make my decision to stay, I went back to when I picked Penn State and decided to commit in the first place," he said. "I committed because of the fans, the community, the education and the football team. When I went back [to Michigan], I sat down and talked with my parents and saw that everything was still in play. My decision wasn't that hard."
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson also had a hand in keeping Olaniyan in State College.
"I met with Coach J a couple times, we sat down to discuss what was going on with my future," said Olaniyan. "He had an impact on my decision. He a hand in it, because when I decided to come here I decided that I wanted to play for Coach J. When you come here, you spend most of your time with your position coach. I knew I had to like my position coach, and me and Coach J really get along."