Penn State got some nice production out of Parker Cothren, Curtis Cothran, and Kevin Givens at defensive tackle last year, but this summer all three men will be training hard in the hopes that they can have the type of season that Jared Odrick enjoyed during his junior and senior seasons at Penn State.
Not only did the Nittany Lions have great success as a team in Odrick’s junior year of 2008, but the Lancaster native had a breakout season with four-and-a-half sacks to go with a first team All-Big Ten selection. The next year wasn’t quite as good for the Lions, as they barely missed out on a BCS bid, but Odrick was even more dominant. He registered six sacks, won Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, and was named an All-American by the nation’s coaches. Perhaps most amazing about that 2009 campaign was that Odrick was credited with 41 tackles from a position that is supposed to be about taking up space and letting the linebackers grab the glory.
In the 2010 NFL Draft, Odrick was rewarded for his collegiate production and selected 28th overall by the Miami Dolphins, a franchise he ended up spending five seasons with while registering 16.5 sacks. In 2015, he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and had a solid debut campaign before being sidelined with a shoulder injury in 2016. Earlier this year, Odrick was released by Jacksonville and is still a free agent today.
Whichever NFL team ends up picking up Odrick will have a defensive tackle that can still put pressure on the quarterback and force fumbles. In between his rookie season and 2016, he played five consecutive 16-game seasons. While being a very good NFL defensive tackle doesn’t garner much attention these days, Odrick will always be remembered by Penn State fans because of his dominant play for two of Joe Paterno’s finest teams of the Big Ten era.