Defensive tackle Kevin Givens, a starter for Penn State in 2018, has declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. Givens' announcement makes him the fourth player to declare a year early since Penn State's season ended on Tuesday.
Givens formed a tandem with Robert Windsor in the middle upon which Brent Pry leaned heavily, with depth issues behind them made worse by injuries. He provided inside pass rushing skills as a former defensive end, but held his own despite being a bit undersized for the position. In 2018, Givens finished with 33 tackles, 5 sacks, and 10 total tackles for loss, all career highs.
The announcement is somewhat of a surprise and leaves Penn State in an interesting position. There are plenty of players at the defensive tackle position for the Nittany Lions, but very little proven talent. Windsor should return as a starter, but the situation is much murkier beyond that.
P.J. Mustipher was thrown into the fire as a true freshman with mixed results, but he has the ceiling to be an excellent player as early as next season. Ellison Jordan and Fred Hansard are both talented as well, but both have dealt with serious injuries that ended their 2018 seasons. Antonio Shelton has had opportunities for playing time and has failed to take advantage to this point, and Damion Barber was not able to crack the rotation, falling behind offensive guard C.J. Thorpe when things got desperate this year. Redshirt freshmen Aeneas Hawkins and Judge Culpepper, and true freshman Hakeem Beamon, are expected to round out the tackle depth chart.