Penn State OT Olu Fashanu opts out of Peach Bowl vs. Ole Miss

ByAdam Rittenberg ESPN logo
Saturday, December 30, 2023

Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu, a projected top-10 NFL draft pick, did not play in Saturday's 38-25 loss toOle Miss in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Fashanu declared for the NFL draftDec. 22 but accompanied his teammates to Atlanta and had not said whether he would play against the No. 11 Rebels.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. projects Fashanu as the No. 8 overall prospect for the 2024 draft. Fashanu started 12 games for No. 10 Penn State this season and was named Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year, as well as earning co-MVP honors from the team.

Fashanu, who is 6-foot-6 and 317 pounds and has one season of eligibility left, emerged as an NFL prospect in 2022, when he started eight games at left tackle before missing time with an injury. He had been projected high in the 2023 draft but opted to return for a fourth season at Penn State.

Penn State also was without cornerback Kalen King, who was ruled out on the Big Ten's availability report Saturday morning. Kiper lists King, a two-year starter with 29 tackles and two pass breakups this season, as the No. 10 draft-eligible cornerback.

Others missing the game for Penn State include cornerback Johnny Dixon, who did not travel with the team to Atlanta, coach James Franklin said Friday. Dixon recorded 4.5 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble for the Nittany Lions.

Without the missing cornerbacks, Penn State allowed 394 passing yards as Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart threw for three touchdowns.

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