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Gotta Run It Back: Joey Porter Jr. Returning to Penn State for Redshirt Junior Season

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Gotta. Run. It. Back.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 20 Rutgers at Penn State Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Penn State received a very nice Christmas gift yesterday morning when redshirt sophomore cornerback Joey Porter Jr. announced that he is returning to Happy Valley for his redshirt junior season.

Porter Jr. bursted onto the scene in 2020 when he surprisingly won a starting cornerback role over fellow 2019 recruiting class signees Keaton Ellis and Marquis Wilson. He continued to impress in 2021, finishing the season with 48 tackles and 1 interception on his way to third team All-B1G honors.

The return of JPJ gives Penn State a bonafide No. 1 cornerback, but of course, there are things for him to work on. A physical corner, JPJ struggled with some grabby hands down the stretch which led to a few pass interference calls. Goes without saying, but that will probably be a focus this offseason and in 2022 — being a little more inconspicuous with those holds so that the refs don’t throw a flag. Also, would like to see a few more plays on the ball from JPJ as he only has one interception through 21 games.

With the return of JPJ, Penn State’s cornerback room is in a really good spot. You have JPJ reprising his role as CB1, Daequan Hardy returning as the nickel back, while Kalen King and Johnny Dixon will battle it for CB2. Also, don’t forget about rising redshirt freshman Zakee Wheatley, who came into Penn State as a safety but has seemingly stuck at corner. At 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, he’s another lanky athlete who — like JPJ did — could find his way onto the field earlier than expected.