Earlier this morning we talked about the offensive prospects, but what about the defensive prospects? Which defensive player from Penn State’s 2022 class are we most excited for?
Chris Lucia: “Again, why bother getting crazy here when the answer is obvious? After quarterback, defensive end is perhaps the most important position on the field. Penn State has had a series of quality defensive ends - Arnold Ebiketie, Jayson Oweh, Shaka Toney, Yetur Gross-Matos - but perhaps none of them had quite the pedigree of Dani Dennis-Sutton. Dani already comes in with elite size before meeting up with Dwight Galt, and figures to only grow into his massive 6’5” frame. The DE room is looking a touch thin, but most of those concerns are alleviated if DDS can plug into the rotation as a true freshman. Will he? Who knows - the staff should hit the portal for a DE either way - but in short order, we’ll be hearing Dani’s name with a ton of regularity on Saturdays.”
Marty Leap: “This was also an easy one. While Allar is, in my opinion, the most important recruiting win of the Franklin Era, DDS may be the biggest battle they won. Allar was largely all Penn State after getting offered, but with DDS the Nittany Lions had to overcome a late surge by Georgia that made it appear DDS would end up a Bulldog. Instead, the McDonough to Happy Valley pipeline continues and the elite pass rusher is coming to Penn State. In order to reach the CFP elite pass rushers are a necessity and that is exactly what DDS is. He should also feast in Manny Diaz’s attacking defense where his EDGE guys rack up TFLs in bunches. It may not take DDS long to become one of the most feared pass rushers in the FBS.”
Clay Sauertieg: “For my money, Abdul Carter is one of the most underrated recruits in this class. He has the athleticism at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds to play linebacker at the WILL or MIKE for Manny Diaz but he also has the arm length and first step to come off the edge as a defensive end. He also uses that arm length to get off blocks well and flows very well to the ball. If things work out according to plan for Carter, he very well could be the linebacker that Penn State fans thought they were getting in Brandon Smith.”
Lando: “I am smitten by pass rushers who are agile, yet do not rely solely on their speed and athleticism (cough cough Aaron Maybin). I think DDS has the potential to be a game-wrecker for the Nittany Lions, which will be sorely needed in 2022 and beyond. If he can be both a pass rusher and a run-stopper, DDS has the potential to be Penn State’s most impactful defensive player.”
Eli: “Is ‘everyone’ an acceptable answer? It’s been a couple of seasons since we saw a class where everyone can be an impact player, and depending on who ends up leaving or coming back on defense, we may see most of them on the field sooner rather than later. As such, I’m going to be a sellout and go with the highest rated of them all, Dani Dennis-Sutton. Of all the players who will see the field relatively quickly, he’s likely going to see the field the soonest, for very good reasons.”
Patrick Koerbler: “The obvious ones have been mentioned so I’m going to go with safety Kevin Winston. He was just recently bumped up to a 247Composite four-star, but as the 348th ranked player in the country, he’s still about 200 spots too low. He has great size at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, great athleticism as evidenced by some impressive track numbers, and perhaps most important: the kid is just a really good football player. Comparisons are tough, but he really reminds me of Jaquan Brisker. I think we’d all be ecstatic with that.”