While Penn State dipped into the transfer portal earlier this week with Baylor running back John Lovett, it lost two defensive tackles today as redshirt senior Antonio Shelton and redshirt sophomore Judge Culpepper both entered the transfer portal.
2016 3-star DT Antonio Shelton has entered the portal as a grad transfer after totaling 51 tackles, 12.5 TFL and 6 sacks at #WeAre @rivalsmike@RivalsWoody @RivalsSnyder @NateBauerBWIhttps://t.co/kaAiDjz3Kh— NCAA Transfer Portal (@RivalsPortal) December 23, 2020
2018 4-star DT Judge Culpepper has entered the transfer portal after redshirting as a true freshman and then totaling 8 tackles and 1 sack with #WeAre @rivalsmike @RivalsWoody @RivalsSnyder @NateBauerBWI https://t.co/Hgwggr8RIE— NCAA Transfer Portal (@RivalsPortal) December 23, 2020
Shelton has been a stalwart on Penn State’s defensive line the last two seasons, starting 19 games in 2019 and 2020. Playing the 1-Tech, Shelton didn’t put up gaudy stats — 8.5 TFLs and 4 sacks the last two years — but was stout against the running.
Judge Culpepper played sparingly the previous two years, finishing his Penn State career with just 8 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 sack.
Of course, the loss of Shelton is most surprising. He’s been a starter in Happy Valley for two seasons, and since redshirt seniors don’t count against the 85 scholarship limit, Shelton is essentially a free scholarship. However, six years at one place is a long time, and it’s conceivable that Penn State and Shelton decided that going their separate ways was the correct move for both sides.
Penn State had a glut of defensive tackles on the roster, so the Nittany Lions are still in good shape from a depth perspective. Senior PJ Mustipher should now be able to man the 1-Tech — his more natural position — next season, with redshirt sophomore Hakeem Beamon taking over as the starter at the 3-Tech. A former defensive end, Beamon will give Penn State more of a pass rushing defensive tackle; something they have lacked the previous couple seasons.
Behind Mustipher and Beamon will be redshirt sophomore D’Von Ellies, redshirt senior Fred Hansard, redshirt junior Aeneas Hawkins, and a quartet of redshirt freshmen: Coziah Izzard, Amin Vanover, Cole Brevard, and Fatorma Mulbah.