Three-Star Defensive End Rodney McGraw Signs Letter of Intent with Penn State

By Nick Polak on December 16, 2020 at 8:31 am
Three-star defensive end Rodney McGraw signs his letter of intent with Penn State.

Welcome to National Signing Day for the 2021 recruiting class here at Roar Lions Roar. Make sure to check out all of our other coverage today and in the coming days, and make sure to check out each profile of the newest Nittany Lions as they sign their letters of intent. (All photos you see below are courtesy of 247Sports)

Penn State swooped in and flipped McGraw from Tom Allen and the Hoosiers. The edge rusher posted impressive numbers in high school and will now join a strong pass rush group in Happy Valley.

Rodney McGraw
Position: Defensive End
Height/Weight: 6'5/255 lbs.
High School: Elkhart Central (Elkhart, IN)
247Composite Rank: ★★★(0.8817)
Positional Rank: No. 445 Overall, No. 321 Weak-Side Defensive End, No. 6 in Indiana
Commitment Date: May 3, 2020

RLR's Take

McGraw has quite the stat line to boast from his high school days, posting 39.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, and seven forced fumbles across 2018 and 2019. As you can imagine would be the case for a 6'5, 255-pound high school defensive lineman in Indiana, he didn't go up against too many offensive linemen who could stop him. He does a nice job of fighting around blockers with his hands and he does everything he can to knock the ball loose once he gets to the quarterback.

Thanks to his hilarious size advantage, he didn't have to do too much to get around blockers. As a result of that, however, he doesn't seem to have much experience with winning the leverage battle against blockers – something that he'll need to do to succeed at the collegiate level. Position coach John Scott Jr. will surely work with him on firing off the ball and into his opponent, instead of immediately getting upright and then going to work with his hands.

Moving Forward

McGraw has the size to play at the Big Ten level right now, so his path to early playing time will be completely determined by his ability to pick up the playbook and refine his technique. If Jayson Oweh decides to declare for the NFL Draft as expected, there is a path for McGraw to earn playing time as a freshman, as there would be just five true edge players on scholarship aside from him.

Long term, McGraw's style of play could end up looking similar to Ryan Buchholz – a strong run-stopper with the ability to get to the quarterback from time to time. However, if he is able to develop more speed once he arrives on campus, he could also become a Yetur Gross-Matos type, and even shift inside on passing downs thanks to his size, just as YGM did.


2021 Defensive End Scholarship Chart
Seniors Juniors Sophomores Freshmen
  Jayson Oweh* Smith Vilbert* Bryce Mostella*
  Nick Tarburton*   Amin Vanover*
  Adisa Isaac   Rodney McGraw

* denotes redshirt season taken

Welcome to Penn State, Rodney.