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Gotta Run It Back: Senior Safety Jaquan Brisker Returning for Senior Season

Now give me two claps and a Ric Flair!

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Penn State’s secondary already received a big boost when cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields announced that he was returning for his final season. Well folks, make that boost a double because Jaquan Brisker is also back for one more season in Happy Valley.

A JUCO college transfer a part of the 2019 recruiting class, Brisker has been a mainstay in Penn State’s secondary since he arrived on campus. Although he didn’t start in 2019, he played a ton of snaps as the third safety behind Garrett Taylor and Lamont Wade. In 2020, Brisker took over a starting role, and was impressive to say the least, totaling 57 tackles, 3 TFLs, and 1 interception in nine games. For his play, Brisker was honored with a 3rd Team All-Big Ten selection, while PFF took it a step further, naming the 6-foot-1, 212-pound safety a 1st Team All-American.

While it’s probably safe to say that Brisker’s play was somewhere in the middle of 3rd Team All-Big Ten and 1st Team All-American, it was clear that Brisker was getting better as the season went along, and that he was just starting to reach the level he’s capable of. While Brisker could have left early and been a late round NFL Draft pick, it’s clear that he thinks with another season in Happy Valley, his draft value will rise exponentially.

With Brisker’s return, it gives Penn State what should be in the running for the best secondary in the Big Ten. At cornerback, you have Castro-Fields (18 starts), Joey Porter Jr (7 starts), Keaton Ellis (6 starts), Marquis Wilson (1 start), and John Dixon (9 starts at South Carolina, where some would argue it just means more) who have all started games before — which, yeah, that’s a lot of depth. As we talked about in the Castro-Fields article, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of those corners moved to safety.

Of course, there are options within the safety room, too. Ji’Ayir Brown was making some strides as the year went along, and could follow a similar path to Brisker. I’ve been a Tyler Rudolph stan since he was a recruit. Enzo Jennings was a highly-touted kid coming out of high school. There are some viable options within the position already. Regardless of what happens though, Brisker’s return is huge for the secondary. Breaking in two new safeties isn’t a spot you want to be in. Fortunately for Penn State, thanks to Brisker, they won’t be.