Anthony Zettel was one of the final commits of the 2010 calendar year, and was part of legendary head coach Joe Paterno's final recruiting class, coming to Happy Valley a four star recruit in the class of 2011. A top five player from the state of Michigan, he turned down offers from the Wolverines and Spartans to play for the Nittany Lions--and it's worked out well for him.
After being part of Larry Johnson, Sr's defensive line rotation at defensive end for two years under head coach Bill O'Brien (having redshirted his freshman season under Paterno), Zettel made the switch last spring to defensive tackle under James Franklin and Bob Shoop--a move that, at only 278 pounds, seemed questionable to some of us. Franklin, though, continually reiterated how he was unworried about the interior of his defensive line, and it turns out this was for good reason.
Zettel was named a unanimous all-Big Ten defensive tackle after his performance in 2014, a year that saw him pick up 42 tackles (28 solo), including 17 for loss. He also logged 8 sacks and three (3!!!) interceptions, nearly unheard of for an interior defensive lineman.
After the season, he took a moment to consider his options and was evaluated for the NFL Draft before deciding to return to Penn State for his redshirt senior season, where he'll anchor the line alongside Austin Johnson. Expect to see his name on all the preseason award watch lists--it's already on the way-too-early Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List for 2015.
Off the field, of course, more recently there was this:
And lastly, I had to dig deep into the BSD archives for this gem, but Zettel's always had a sense of humor, as evidenced by this lovely piece uploaded online during his redshirt year: