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BSD Early NSD Roundtable: What 2024 Defensive Prospect Excites You The Most?

Good pickups across the board for the Nittany Lions defense.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 23 Iowa at Penn State Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Earlier this morning, we discussed the offensive prospects in Penn State’s class that excited us. Now we’ll take a look at the defensive prospects that will be potentially utilized by new defensive coordinator Tom Allen.

Bennett: CB Jon Mitchell

The secondary needs an influx of talent and Mitchell figures to be a player who can make an early impact in the same way that other highly touted corners have done in James Franklin’s tenure - Kalen King, TCF and John Reid to name a few.

Chris Lucia: DB Dejuan Lane

Like Bennett, I’m on board with secondary talent being a must. The Lions have done well at safety the last few seasons, but 2023 they seemed to lack a true game-breaker, a la Ji’Ayir Brown or Jaquan Brisker. At 6-foot-3, Lane has elite size for a safety, and could make an impact sooner than later on the back end.

Lando: DB Dejuan Lane

I continue to love tall/rangy defensive backs (if you look through the past NSD roundtables, you will see proof of this).

Ryan Parsons: DE/LB Jaylen Harvey

Harvey may have the most upside of any player in this class and has received glowing reviews from national talent evaluators. His versatility will also come into play, and Penn State will need to choose where he’ll line up in the front seven. I could see him playing the role Micah Parsons does with the Cowboys as a hybrid edge rusher.

Tim Aydin: DE/LB Jaylen Harvey & DT Xavier Gilliam

Maybe I’m biased because I live fairly close to the high school these guys both play for (Quince Orchard in Gaithersburg, MD), but I really like the potential of these two defensive ends and am hopeful they are the next wave of pass rushers to wreak havoc on opposing offenses.

Patrick Koerbler: DT Liam Andrews

Andrews started the recruiting process as an offensive tackle, but as his recruitment went along, he made clear his preference to play along the defensive line at the next level. While some may argue his upside is higher as a bookend left tackle, that doesn’t mean Andrews doesn’t have the makings of an all-conference level 3-tech. Despite enrolling early, he’ll likely need a redshirt season to add some mass — he’s enrolling around 260 pounds — but Andrews figures to be someone who won’t stand on the sidelines for long.