When you're Evan Schwan's size (6-foot-6, about 240 pounds), you don't come across too many guys who can match up with you physically on the high school football field.
Evan Schwan hopes to hone his technique as he prepares for Saturday's Big 33 contest.
The Big 33 Football Classic is no ordinary high school football game, though.
Schwan, the former Central Dauphin star who will become a Penn State defensive end in a couple of weeks, is squaring off against future Division I players on every snap during practices this week and will do so again when Pennsylvania takes on Ohio this Saturday night in Hersheypark Stadium.
"It's a different change of pace but all it's doing is preparing me for Penn State," he said after a Big 33 practice Monday. "I'm excited."
Schwan is spending the week lining up alongside linemen Kiser Terry (Neshaminy, Temple) and massive Tyrique Jarrett (Allderdice, Pitt), who checks in at 6-foot-4, 310 pounds. It's a short week of preparation that's been made even more difficult by rain, but Schwan is confident that at least the Pennsylvania D-line will be ready to go on Saturday.
"The defensive line picked up everything really, really fast," Schwan said. "We have only a couple things that we really have to focus on. I feel like the offensive line maybe lacked a little bit just because Coach (Mike) Brennan kind of threw all the plays at them at once but I feel that they're definitely getting everything now and they're really doing well."
Brennan, who coaches at Blue Mountain and is heading up the Pennsylvania squad, loved Schwan's highlight tape and is more than happy to have him at his disposal this week.
"He runs so well," Brennan said. "Who knows how big he can get? His motor … he never stops. He's a relentless pursuer of the quarterback and the ballcarrier."
Summer football is never easy on bigger players, who have to find a balance between getting a good workout in and battling heat exhaustion. Schwan is using the opportunity to improve his technique and get accustomed to playing with the 20 pounds he's added since his senior season ended.
"You don't want to go all out and tire yourself out, but you want to work on your craft," he said. "Put your tools in your toolbox and get ready to pull them out at game time."
Schwan doesn't know what to expect from the Ohio squad, which includes six linemen that are 6-foot-5 or taller, but that's part of the challenge of the week.
"We just set our own game plan and work harder than they do," he said. "And that's what we're doing."
Brennan likes Schwan's size and speed, but his motor is what makes the big man an exciting prospect and what the coach believes could make him a threat this Saturday and on future Saturdays.
"His days right now are very good," Brennan said. "His days two three four years down the road -- it's scary to think of how good he might be able to be. I think he's comfortable with it. He's really impressive. He's fun to watch, really intense, great football IQ. On Saturday night, I think he's going to be very difficult to block."