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National Signing Day 2017: Welcome to Penn State, Jonathan Sutherland

Penn State goes international, as Canadian Jonathan Sutherland is officially a Nittany Lion.


The culmination of the recruiting season is here, as National Signing Day 2017 is finally upon it. Here at Black Shoe Diaries, we’ll have coverage throughout the day of Penn State’s recruiting class, taking a player-by-player look at each member of the class, and taking a bigger picture look at the class as a whole. Thanks for stopping by, and if you aren’t already following, please follow @BSDTweet on Twitter for more recruiting news and notes.

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It wasn’t a big safety class for the Nittany Lions, but Penn State likes to think it got a good one in Jonathan Sutherland. The Canadian safety committed to Penn Stater during the summer, choosing the Nittany Lions over offers from North Carolina, Rutgers, Michigan, Miami, and a host of other schools.


Position High School Height/Weight 247Composite Rank Positional Rank
Position High School Height/Weight 247Composite Rank Positional Rank
Safety Alexandria, VA (Episcopal) 6-foot, 195 pounds Four-star (0.8992) No. 275 overall, No. 23 safety, No. 11 player in VA


Scouting Report

The first thing that jumps out when watching Sutherland’s film is that he’s terrific in run support. Really, he displays instincts like a linebacker, and he’s at best when attacking the line of scrimmage. He’ll go for a hit-stick tackle every once in a while, but he also shows the willingness to wrap-up on tackles too. Despite his aggressive style in run support, he looks comfortable dropping back into zone coverage too. You can tell Sutherland’s been a well-coached kid.

He’s listed at 195, but he’s a little small in the upper-body. And being that Sutherland will probably be groomed to play free safety (Marcus Allen’s spot), I think he’ll want to bulk up a bit more. Also, while he displays good short-area quickness, he isn’t very fast, clocking in a 4.84 forty time.


If Sutherland was in the 2014 recruiting class, he’d probably be a no brainer to play. But with the way James Franklin has infused talent into the secondary these past couple years, a redshirt season will be the move for Sutherland.

I touched on it above, but even though he doesn’t have Marcus Allen’s size, his game is pretty similar to No. 2’s. I would expect Sutherland to watch and study under Allen this season, and then hopefully be in the mix for the starting free safety spot in 2018.