Shaka Toney, Lamont Wade to Return to Penn State in 2020

By RLR Staff on January 21, 2020 at 2:21 pm
Oct 5, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive end Shaka Toney (18) reacts during the first half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, the NFL released the official list of draft-eligible upperclassmen. Penn State had just two players on the list in Yetur Gross-Matos and KJ Hamler, meaning that defensive end Shaka Toney and safety Lamont Wade appear to be returning for the 2020 season. There has yet to be an official announcement from either one via social media, though Wade did have an Instagram post a while back that seemed to imply his return.

Toney, a former three-star prospect out of Imhotep Academy, has evolved from a situational pass rusher to one of Sean Spencer's most reliable options along the defensive line. In his first year as a starter, Toney amassed a career-high 38 tackles, including 13 solo stops. He also added 6.5 sacks, another career-best. He will look to add to his 15.5 career sacks in 2020 while providing veteran leadership along a line that will lose Robert Windsor to graduation, and Yetur Gross-Matos to an early departure for the NFL Draft.

Wade, a former-five star prospect, began his career at cornerback before switching to safety as a sophomore. As a first-time starter in 2019, Wade logged 67 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 5 pass breakups while playing his best football down the stretch. He tied a Big Ten record with 3 forced fumbles in the Ohio State game, willing to Penn State to a near-comeback. On top of his safety duties, he returned to his cornerback role in Brent Pry's nickel package, proving to be one of the defense's most versatile players.

Toney and Wade join offensive linemen Michal Menet and Will Fries, tight end Pat Freiermuth, and cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields as underclassmen who will return for the 2020 season.

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