When the 2015 season began, Jordan Lucas was playing a new position, after playing cornerback for the previous three seasons. Everyone expected him to make the transition just as smoothly as Adrian Amos before him did, but no one would have blamed him if his play left a little to be desired as he found his footing over the first few weeks. That did not happen.
From the moment he stepped onto the field as the leader of the secondary, he was a stud. He was able to step up to the line and cover extra receivers, he delivered dominating hits on ball carriers who thought they were in the clear and he provided the young corners (Grant Haley, John Reid, Christian Campbell) security over the top. He managed to meet, and possibly exceed the unreasonably high expectations set before him, after Amos became such a dominant force at the safety position previously.
Lucas' impact became even more clear after his injury that effectively ended his Nittany Lion career. The secondary never again seemed to have the same balance and same sense of direction, giving up big plays that Lucas may have been able to help prevent. It's a pointless exercise to think about what could have been, but it's very clear that the defense took a step back when Jordan left the field.
Despite playing in only nine games in 2015, Lucas still compiled 56 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble. His impact went far beyond the stat sheet, but the numbers are still pretty dang impressive in and of themselves. Lucas not only had an outstanding 2015, but an outstanding career, as well. The former three star defensive back recruit, who was the very first player to commit to Bill O'Brien, leaves Penn State as a fan favorite, and someone that many people will not soon forget. This defense would not have been the same without him, and because of that, he was comfortably one of the top 10 best players on this year's Penn State football team. Fitting that No. 9 ended up No. 9.