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Penn State Football Preseason Top 10: No. 9 Curtis Jacobs

Not the only linebacker on this list

Central Michigan v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

It’s time for our annual season top 10! Each summer, the staff votes on its top 10 players ahead of the upcoming season. A first place vote is worth 10 points, second place is worth nine points, and so on.

Reminder: This is a Top 10 for how the players will produce this season. It’s not just based on what they have done in their career up to this point. Instead, it’s how we think they will play this coming season.


Well, it’s actually a slip in the rankings from last year when Jacobs was listed No. 6 in these preseason rankings. It’s not that the consensus four-star linebacker coming out of the prestigious McDonogh School in Owings Mills, MD disappointed in 2022. Last year, in 12 starts, Jacobs had 52 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, two fumble recoveries, and returned an interception for a touchdown against Michigan. He was Honorable Mention All-Big Ten by both the coaches and media.

He committed to the Nittany Lions on Groundhog Day 2019, choosing Penn State over Florida, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Virginia. In his first season in 2020, Jacobs played in eight games, making nine tackles and breaking up a pass. In 2021, he started 11 games and recorded 61 tackles, three sacks, and one interception. For his efforts, Jacobs was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten by the media.


Abdul Carter emerged as a freshman superstar in 2022 and it seems to have left Jacobs in the shadows a bit. But, let’s remember that Jacobs has been a consistent playmaker since getting on campus in the Covid-altered 2020 season. He’s a rangy sideline to sideline player with a penchant for coming up with big plays. Along with Carter, he figures to lead the linebacker group in snaps played.

Don’t be at all surprised if he makes a leap to first-team all-Big Ten player in what figures to be his last season in Happy Valley before making the jump to the NFL Draft (something he flirted with last year) and becoming another famed alum of LBU.