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)
The DMV has been good to the Penn State defense over the years, bringing names like Marcus Allen and Yetur Gross-Matos to Happy Valley. Four-star safety Zakee Wheatley has the potential to be the next great Nittany Lion defender from the region.
|Height/Weight: 6'2/180 lbs.|
|High School: Archbishop Spalding (Severn, MD)|
|247Composite Rank: ★★★★(0.8960)|
|Positional Rank: No. 322 Overall, No. 22 Safety, No. 15 in Maryland|
|Commitment Date: April 10, 2020|
Playing both receiver and defensive back in high school, it was clear Wheatley was the best player on the field no matter where he lined up. At 6'2 he towers over a lot of wide receivers as a defensive back and it's clear his large frame could carry a lot more weight. He does a good job tracking the ball while it's in the air and knows how to keep guys in front of him. He's a decent tackler and his tape shows he wants to hit you as hard as he can. He'll need to wrap up more to bring down dudes at this level, but he has a willingness to make a tackle that you can't teach.
Wheatley is a major wildcard in Penn State's safety room next season. On one hand, he may be the most athletic of anyone at the position. On the other hand, he has to put on some weight and learn the ins and outs of the position before he sees the field regularly.
Even if he does need the redshirt year to get on track, there will be playing time to go around with a lot of the guys ahead of him also being young and inexperienced. As things stand, Wheatley seems like a yellow light with the potential to make an impact on special teams as a freshman, before fighting for a starting job in 2022 and beyond.
|Ji'Ayir Brown||Tyler Rudolph*||Enzo Jennings*|
|Jonathan Sutherland*||Jaylen Reed|
* denotes redshirt season taken