After receiving news that Sean Clifford and Ji’Ayir Brown would be returning to Penn State in 2022, the Nittany Lions received more good news on Thursday evening as safety Jonathan Sutherland announced he too would be returning to Penn State for his sixth year.
Sutherland has had an interesting career in Happy Valley. He made some noise as a true freshman and redshirt freshman, but could never crack the starting lineup at safety. Still, he made his presence felt by becoming one of the captains of the special teams unit, eventually earning the No. 0 jersey.
Although Penn State could use some depth help at safety, it doesn’t appear that is going to be where Sutherland plays next season. He ended his letter with #LBU which signals a full-time move to linebacker — most likely the SAM linebacker spot, where he filled in for Curtis Jacobs late in the season against Rutgers.
The move makes a lot of sense for both parties. Penn State will likely move Curtis Jacobs over to the WILL spot to take over for the departing Brandon Smith, so the SAM job is pretty wide open. With an offseason to pack on more mass (Sutherland is listed at just 201 pounds), Sutherland’s strengths should make him a better fit at linebacker compared to safety.