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MMQB: Who Will Be Penn State's Sack Leader in 2016?

Who's ready to fill the shoes of the nation's leader in sacks?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Carl Nassib came out of nowhere to lead the nation in sacks on his way to the Lombardi Award as a senior in 2015. Now, he's moved on to Cleveland where he'll attempt to lead the defensive line as the franchise finally tries to right the ship. Anthony Zettel, the team's sack leader from 2014, has also moved on to the NFL where he'll attempt to be a hometown hero for the Detroit Lions. All-Big Ten defensive tackle and second round pick Austin Johnson will also be playing on Sundays in Tennessee, where he'll meet up with former Penn State defensive tackle DaQuan Jones.

Obviously, there's plenty of transition along the defensive line as Penn State needs to find a way to replace three extremely productive players. However, it also brings about the opportunity for several new defensive linemen to step into the spotlight this fall. So who will find their name atop the sack list come January 2017? The field is pretty wide open.

Garrett Sickels would be the most sensible candidate considering he is the sole returning starter on the defensive line. Evan Schwan is competing to win the starting job opposite Sickels, and could have a Nassib-esque senior season after waiting his turn as a rotational player throughout his career. The 6-6, 256 lb. senior was the size and tenacity to take a major leap in his final year of eligibility. Redshirt freshman Kevin Givens is another possibility. Givens has come out of nowhere and has been giving the offensive line fits throughout the spring with his strength and quick first step. Or could it even be a linebacker? Brandon Bell is a nightmare off the edge and could accumulate sacks quickly during his senior season.

My personal pick, however, is redshirt sophomore Torrence Brown. The Tuscaloosa native has freakish athletic ability and should be a handful as an edge rusher. As his playing time greatly increases, so will his production. Brown has sky-high potential, and a double-digit sack and all-conference season would not come as a surprise whatsoever. I'll predict Brown will rack up 10.5 sacks and become a full-time starter in 2016.

So what say you, BSD reader? Who will be the team leader in sacks this season, and how many will they have?