BSD’s position-by-position previews continue with defensive tackle. The Nittany Lions lose PJ Mustipher, and are now left looking to replace him while answering questions about depth.
After missing the first four games of the 2022 season, Coziah Izzard made his impact felt. He played nine games last season, scoring 4 tackles for a loss and 2 sacks. Izzard seemed to blowing up plays and applying pressure with regularity while showing off a great twitch on the interior of the defensive line. Now set to take over as a starter this fall, it would not be a surprise to see Izzard be the team’s best defensive tackle.
Hakeem Beamon played in all 13 games last season with 12 starts. He should once again line up as a starter at defensive tackle for the Nittany Lions this fall. Beamon was inconsistent at times last fall. While he recorded 6 tackles for a loss, he would get eaten up by blockers at times. Manny Diaz will be looking for Beamon to take a step forward this fall.
D’Von Ellies, Zane Durant, Jordan van den Berg
Defensive tackle is certainly a position where he is a “starter” and who is coming off the bench will not be a huge deal. Deion Barnes will likely look to roll at least five deep at defensive tackle, with D’Von Ellies, Zane Durant, and Jordan van den Berg all playing plenty of snaps as well.
Durant may have a bigger potential than any other defensive tackle on the roster to impact the 2023 season. Durant has great twitch and potentially elite athleticism at defensive tackle. If he can add some size and strength this offseason, he could be a real handful this fall.
Ellies will use his size to eat up space, while van den Berg will continue to be a high motor player for the Nittany Lions. If Penn State is going to get to where they want to in 2023, they will likely need at least one of these two players to take a step forward.
There are very few question marks surrounding Penn State entering 2023. Defensive tackle, however, is a question mark. There is concern over the team’s size and depth at the position. Hopefully, things will pan out at the position while the rest of the defense is good enough to help cover up any issues at the positions.