Breaking Down the Early Enrollees: Defense

By Michael Stanley on January 15, 2020 at 9:00 am
Enzo Jennings
247Sports
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Note- Red light implies the player is extremely likely to redshirt, yellow light implies a possibility of playing past the allowed four games, and green light implies the player will breeze past four games played, burning their redshirt.


Enzo Jennings

Penn State had some inconsistent play at safety in 2019. They could certainly use a boost of talent, consistency, and reliability. This is where Jennings comes in.

Enrolling early will be great for both Jennings and Penn State as this gives them extra time to further evaluate what they have at safety and for him to acclimate to the playbook. He could stand to put on some weight but for the most part, Jennings' biggest obstacle will be picking up the defense and getting used to Big Ten speed. He excels in coverage, which is a huge boost to his value at safety, but he'll need to prove he can hold up in run support if he's to stay at safety.

Yellow light

Cole Brevard

A big, gap-stuffing tackle, Brevard could prove invaluable for Penn State in 2020 given the loss of Robert Windsor.

While Windsor played the 3-tech spot and Brevard has more the makings of a 1-tech tackle, Windsor played a huge role in Penn State's great run defense and Brevard could find himself in a position to help keep that up. While he'll need to get stronger, enrolling early provides him lots of time to do so. Brevard likely won't provide much in the way of pass rushing, at least not right off the bat, but he can carve out a nice role for himself on early downs and third-and-shorts.

Yellow light

Joseph Johnson

Penn State's pass defense was a major weaknessl throughout much of 2019. They'll look for some fresh faces to help solidify the secondary and Johnson could possibly be an answer.

While Johnson has put out some impressive film, and comes with elite explosiveness and length for a corner, his rating is hurt by the fact his level of competition in high school was incredibly weak and he could stand to improve his tackling. If Johnson can prove to be able to stick another team's No. 1 or 2 receiver, the tackling should be able to be forgiven, especially considering the speed of the linebackers. Johnson must focus on proving he can be the best cover corner for the Nittany Lions

Yellow light

Tyler Elsdon

An outstanding linebacker in PA, Elsdon has dreams of being part of the LBU tradition. He may have to wait his turn, however.

The only position group on either side of the ball that can challenge, and possibly outshine, the overall talent of the running back room is the linebackers. Micah Parsons returns as arguably the best defender in college football, Lance Dixon and Brandon Smith are former five-stars who have shined in their limited reps, Ellis Brooks and Jesse Luketa have proven to be big hitters and tremendous leaders, and Curtis Jacobs will arrive in the summer with a definite athletic advantage. Elsdon is has tremendous instincts as a linebacker, but will likely need to wait for number to be called upon.

Red light

Bryce Mostella

Mostella comes to Penn State at a staggering 6'7 and 235 pounds. He can certainly stand to put on some serious muscle and mass overall, but it's the fact that he comes in incredibly raw as a defensive end that hurts his chances of early playing time.

He will find himself one day with a pretty prominent role for Penn State as his length is invaluable as a defensive end, both in keeping tackles off of him and getting his hands up into passing lanes. But he has some serious work to do in perfecting his craft and building a repertoire of pass rushing moves.

Red light

Fatorma Mulbah

At 6'3, 270 pounds, Mulbah is a behemoth of a freshman, especially given how well built he is already. He can stand to put on some more pounds simply to make sure his body can withstand the punishment, but physical development is not where Mulbah's early playing time will be determined. Like Mostella, Mulbah is incredibly raw, as he is new to football in general.

His level of competition in high school wasn't outstanding, so it's also tough to gauge where he stands. Mulbah is quick off the line, overpowering, and has tremendous hands when shedding blockers. His biggest challenge will likely be how quickly he can handle the jump in competition from high school to college. Given the uncertainty of who will step up at defensive tackle, there's a chance Mulbah could shock some folks and find himself in the two or three deep.

Yellow light

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