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Penn State Football

A Couple of Nittany Lions Among Top Senior Draft Prospects This Season

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Jaquan Brisker

The Reese’s Senior Bowl is one of the premier events for NFL Draft-eligible prospects in the country, a strong performance at the week-long event capable of boosting draft grades a round or two, or capable of tanking a prospect’s stock with a poor week of play.

NFL Draft analyst Chad Reuter ranked his Top 25 Senior Bowl prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft through the midway point of the season, and a couple of Penn State players made the list — and two more are just on the outside.

Nittany Lions senior defensive back Jaquan Brisker rose 10 spots from Reuter’s last ranking, jumping from 20 to 10. Here’s what Reuter had to say about Brisker’s game:

“Brisker was not involved in a lot of plays in the Nittany Lions’ blowout of Indiana a couple weeks ago, but he showed off his ability in coverage, blanketing a third-down out route in the second quarter. Brisker made a couple of big hits throughout the night, though tight end Peyton Hendershot stiff-armed him in the open field late in the game. Penn State came up just short against Iowa last weekend, but Brisker played well. He started strong by attacking a run behind the line of scrimmage and intercepting a tipped pass in the first quarter. Brisker left the game briefly with a shoulder injury but returned quickly to stop a third-down quick pass late in the first half. He played a lot of deep coverage later in the game, breaking up a floating throw to the left sideline from a single-high look.”

Brisker has recorded 25 tackles (15 solo) and defended three passes — picking off two — for the Lions this season. He’s recorded 113 tackles (62 solo), defended 11 passes and picked off five passes in his career.

Lions senior wide receiver Jahan Dotson fell three spots, from 11 to 14, from Reuter’s last ranking. Here’s what he had to say about Dotson’s season thus far:

“Penn State’s top receiver scored twice in the 24-0 rout of Indiana two weeks ago. He once again flaunted his excellent catch radius by reaching high for a throw near the back of the end zone early in the second quarter. Dotson scored in the third quarter, as well, thanks to a mesh play that left him wide open for a 30-yard scamper. While his lack of bulk makes it difficult for him to block or break tackles after the catch, few receivers are better in space with the ball in their hands. He accelerated between blockers for a 16-yard punt return in the fourth quarter but got down quickly and limped a bit to the sideline at the end of his night. Dotson struggled to find room to run last week in Penn State’s loss to Iowa, especially after starting quarterback Sean Clifford exited the game with an injury in the second quarter. He and Clifford found a rhythm early on, throwing the ball outside against the Hawkeyes’ zone to move the chains. Backup passer Ta’Quan Roberson only connected with Dotson a couple times for 5 total yards.”

Dotson leads the Lions in receiving this season, catching 43 passes for 494 yards and six touchdowns. He’s caught 135 passes for 2,069 yards and 19 touchdowns in his Lions’ career.

While senior cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields and senior edge rusher Arnold Ebiketie weren’t ranked inside Reuter’s Top 25, both were listed among the “A Dozen More to Watch” category, likely pointing to strong conclusions of the season leading to rises.

Castro-Fields has accumulated 16 tackles (12 solo) and defended four passes while Ebiketie has racked up 31 tackles (22 solo) and four sacks this season.

The Senior Bowl will take place over the first week of February, the actual game scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5 at Whitney Hancock Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft is scheduled for Thursday, April 28.

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