Tyrell Sales came to Penn State a three-star recruit out of Butler, PA, as a defensive end, a top fifteen player in the state in the 2004 recruiting class. He committed to the Nittany Lions in the depth of the dark years, in October 2003, during arguably the worst season of the worst on-field stretch in PSU history--before the defensive juggernaut that was the 2004 season (no joke).
Sales redshirted in 2004, and as soon as he saw time as a redshirt freshman in 2005 made an immediate impact, seeing time in every game in that resurgent, Orange Bowl-winning season, even starting three games. Off the field, too, he showed promise, being named Academic All-Big Ten as a redshirt freshman. He was again a primary backup in his redshirt sophomore season, seeing time in every game but not able to crack the starting lineup behind Paul Posluszny, Dan Connor, and Tim Shaw.
It wasn't until his junior year that Sales shone. He started every game in 2007 and 2008, and while he was often outshone by the players he played next to (in addition to the NFL players above, his last two years saw him flanking current NFL stalwarts NaVorro Bowman and Sean Lee) but locking down his side of the field. His interception in the 2008 Iowa game was one of few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable night; in a better memory, he was an important part of this play:
If Sales doesn't have the foresight to push the ball away from the pursuing Ohio State players, the outcome of that game might well be very different.