STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Angelo Mangiro has been able to start at center, right tackle and left guard for Penn State this season despite challenges with language because of dyslexia.
He wasn't diagnosed until he joined the team in 2011, after graduating from high school in New Jersey in the top third of his class.
But Mangiro said assignments in high school that took his friends 1 hour took him about 25 minutes longer.
On the field, he sometimes has to tell himself which side of the line he's on to visualize the play's progression. And several weeks ago, he meant to call out the number 43 in a practice drill and he shouted 34 instead.
"It doesn't happen too often," Mangiro said. "It's fun for me to laugh at it and move along and play football and have fun."
Reading only presented a problem when the topic didn't fully capture Mangiro's attention.
"When I'm 100-percent focused I usually don't have any problems with my disability," he said.
That includes the Penn State playbook.
"The playbook is something I take pride in," he said. "I consider myself a football-savvy guy and I've been able to pick up our playbook and positions pretty quick."
He's not had much of a choice. Injuries to guard Miles Dieffenbach and tackle Donovan Smith forced Penn State coach James Franklin to put starters in different positions because of a lack of depth along the offensive line.
"It's something that I've been doing since I've gotten here and I'm used to it," Mangiro said. "Yeah, I have to stay focused while I'm on the field to make sure I'm doing what I need to do. But, no, it's something the team needs me to do, so I'll do it."
Football isn't all Mangiro does.
He'll graduate in December with a degree in criminology and a minor in sociology. He's applying to graduate school in education and is considering teaching and coaching after his final season of eligibility at Penn State next fall.
And he still visits middle schools in State College to help students raise charitable funds for an anti-bullying program he used to be directly involved with.
Mangiro and the Nittany Lions (6-4, 2-4 Big Ten) will visit Illinois (4-6, 1-5) on Saturday and complete their regular season at home against Michigan State Nov. 29.
A postseason bowl game also is likely. That would create more practice time for an offensive line that's come under fire this season for allowing 37 sacks on quarterback Christian Hackenberg and not establishing a consistent rushing attack until the past two games.
"I have a lot to improve on and all the guys on O-line have the same mentality as I do," Mangiro said. "We're not complacent at all. We're trying to get better each day."