For anyone who hasn’t paid attention, let me give you a quick heads up: the Penn State defense is going to be NASTY this year. At all three levels, the Nittany Lions have a mix of talent, depth, and experience, including in the secondary. This is due in large part to Tariq Castro-Fields, who is poised to break out as a junior.
Tariq joined Penn State in the class of 2017, picking the Lions on national signing day over a bevy of P5 offers, including home team Maryland. Castro-Fields wasted no time finding the field, playing in 12 games as a true freshman. On the year, TCF logged 10 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception, three passes defended, and one forced fumble. For his efforts, he was named Honorable Mention All-Freshman Team by BTN.com.
2018 saw more of the same from Tariq, as he played the third cornerback role behind John Reid and Amani Oruwariye. He recorded 32 tackles, five TFLs, one sack, and seven passes defended on the season.
Given his success in the first two seasons at Penn State, one might say it would be hard for Castro-Fields to break out, but this figures to be the first - and perhaps only - season where he’ll be one of the top two DBs on the team.
Standing 6 feet tall and weighing in at 197 pounds, Castro-Fields has the length to cover any receiver, and the weight to lay the lumber when needed. His instincts are fantastic, and he’s rarely out of position. From his time as the nickel cornerback, Tariq has garnered valuable experience both in passing downs, and in the blitzing game. Suffice to say, he has all of the tools needed to be a shutdown corner for Penn State.
The worst part about it for opposing offenses, is they can’t generally throw the ball away from TCF either. John Reid will be starting on the opposite side of the field, and as one of the headiest players on the team, John figures to be just as effective in the secondary as Castro-Fields. They’ll have to pick their poison, and baby, there’s plenty of poison to go around.
Playing as the full-time starter for the first time, combined with his size, instincts, and experience, Tariq Castro-Fields will be Penn State’s breakout player in 2019.