Penn State soccer’s season opener is simply over per week away as we shut out a protracted and chaotic offseason.
Beforehand, we’ve seemed on the offensive backfield, the remainder of the offense, and the defensive entrance seven. Now, it’s time to try the secondary.
The Nittany Lions misplaced two starters this offseason when Garrett Taylor and John Reid each graduated. Moreover, the workforce misplaced a key piece when cornerback Donovan Johnson was dominated out for the season with an damage.
Nonetheless, the secondary returns skilled veterans and younger gamers able to fill the void left by Taylor, Reid, and Johnson.
Listed below are our projections for what Penn State’s secondary will seem like coming into this season.
- Starters: Tariq Castro-Fields, Keaton Ellis
- Reserves: Marquis Wilson, Joey Porter Jr., Daequan Hardy
The cornerbacks are going to be led by senior Tariq Castro-Fields. Castro-Fields is by far probably the most skilled participant within the room as he enters his fourth season in Pleased Valley. Final 12 months, he totaled 52 tackles, eight passes defended, three tackles for loss, and two interceptions.
In 2019, the secondary was vulnerable to giving up the massive performs, particularly within the second half of the season. For Castro-Fields, it boils down to at least one main factor.
“I believe the largest factor is communication, particularly so far as passing,” Castro-Fields mentioned throughout media day final week. “While you’re taking part in all them zones and issues like that it’s important to name out routes. All people needs to be in the best spot and you bought to belief that the individual subsequent to you goes to be in that spot. We’ve simply actually been emphasizing communication in apply.”
The probably starter reverse of Castro-Fields is State Faculty’s personal Keaton Ellis. Ellis earned priceless taking part in time final season as a real freshman, which is able to presumably give him a bonus over a number of the different guys within the room.
Ellis began one recreation final season and served as a key reserve behind Castro-Fields and Reid. He totaled 14 tackles, two passes defended, and a powerful three pressured fumbles.
Ellis and the opposite cornerbacks have actually embraced the competitors this offseason and are utilizing it to raise their recreation.
“It’s actually simply enjoyable to observe,” Ellis mentioned. “The competitors is at a excessive stage. We’re going at it day by day. All people is taking part in rather well proper now, from [Daequan Hardy] to [Joey Porter Jr.] to [Marquis Wilson], and everyone. It’s been actually useful that we now have that competitors as a result of it makes everybody higher. I believe we’re changing into a greater group from it.”
Ellis talked about a number of the different younger guys within the room competing for enjoying time. Marquis Wilson was one other true freshman final season who performed effectively. The Connecticut native totaled 17 tackles and two interceptions in 10 video games performed in 2019. Because the presumptive lead-backup behind Castro-Fields and Ellis, Wilson ought to have the prospect to enhance upon a strong freshman marketing campaign.
Joey Porter Jr. and Daequan Hardy not often noticed the sphere as true freshmen final season. Porter Jr., a former four-star recruit, was the highest participant from Pennsylvania within the 2019 recruiting cycle and could have the prospect to earn extra reps for Brent Pry’s protection.
Hardy, then again, got here to Pleased Valley as an below the radar three-star recruit. He, like Porter Jr., ought to see extra reps in the course of the 2020 season.
The Nittany Lions have three different cornerbacks on their roster coming into the 2020 season. Makai Self and Sebastian Costantini each redshirted their freshmen seasons in 2020. Moreover, Joseph Johnson III arrived at Penn State this fall as a three-star recruit.
- Starters: Lamont Wade, Jaquan Brisker
- Reserves: Jonathan Sutherland, Trent Gordon, Tyler Rudolph, Enzo Jennings
Lamont Wade enters the season because the undoubted chief at security. He’s coming off by far his greatest season, totaling 67 tackles, 4.5 for a loss, 5 passes defended, and three pressured fumbles.
Safeties coach Tim Banks has raved concerning the versatility of Wade, saying his days at cornerback have helped add to his recreation.
“He’s type of a swiss-army knife,” Banks mentioned. “He brings a sure stage of coverability from his days of taking part in nook, however clearly taking part in on the again finish at security he additionally possesses some physicality that possibly some corners wouldn’t have. We expect he’s the last word nickel, to be fairly trustworthy with you — due to the coverability, the physicality, he’s tremendous aggressive.”
Wade might be joined by Jaquan Brisker on the again finish of the Nittany Lions’ protection. Brisker performed his first season at Penn State final season after transferring from Lackawanna Neighborhood Faculty and made an influence in a backup function.
He totaled 31 tackles, 4 passes defended, and two interceptions final season, and can try to enhance upon that this 12 months in a extra distinguished function.
Head coach James Franklin believes Brisker could possibly be poised for a breakout season.
“I believe there may be a whole lot of pleasure in our program for Jaquan [Brisker],” Franklin mentioned. “He appears unbelievable. He’s simply developed a lot. I believe everyone knows sometimes you see a dramatic change of these junior school gamers in 12 months two, and we see that with him. His confidence, his understanding of the scheme, his athleticism, his velocity, how explosive he’s.”
Franklin continued, saying Brisker is “an impressive-looking man proper now.”
Behind Wade and Brisker is redshirt junior Jonathan Sutherland. Sutherland has been a relentless for Penn State soccer, whether or not or not it’s on particular groups or as a backup security. The Canadian has totaled 61 tackles in his two years on the sphere for the Nittany Lions.
Sutherland has additionally earned the respect of his teammates, as a choose few consider he ought to obtain the honour of carrying No. 0 this season.
Trent Gordon made a place change this offseason from nook to security and can try to earn some priceless snaps at his new place. As a nook in 2019, he totaled 20 tackles and defended 5 passes.
Tyler Rudolph and Enzo Jennings will present some depth on the security place. Rudolph, a real freshman final season, didn’t see the sphere a lot in 2019. Jennings, who arrived at Penn State as a four-star recruit this fall, will try to make a right away influence.
Different gamers in Penn State’s security room embody Drew Hartlaub, Cody Romano, Jaden Seider, Dylan Farronato, and Ji’Ayir Brown.