Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker has been selected by the Chicago Bears in the second round (48th pick) of this year’s NFL draft.
After ending his high school football career at Gateway near Pittsburgh— where current Penn State associate head coach Terry Smith used to be the head coach— Brisker moved to Lackawanna Junior College for two years before earning a scholarship to Penn State.
Brisker saw playing time in a reserve role in 2019, and then became a regular starter in the 2020 pandemic-shortened season. This past fall, Brisker became one of the best safeties in college football and earned All-America honors as a result.
At his NFL combine press conference in Indianapolis this past March, Brisker reflected on his junior college experience leading up to Penn State.
“Those slow nights, those slow days, two straight years in junior college staring at a plain wall full of people thinking ‘when is it going to end?’” Brisker said.
He’s a long way from those days, and that time in JUCO likely will feel even further away for Brisker when his NFL career begins.
Brisker’s NFL combine didn’t go the way he had planned. While he was in the the middle of his 22-rep bench press set, Brisker hurt his back. He tried to continue, but after his first 40-yard dash run, the pain became too much and he shut down his combine.
Brisker was able to showcase again, however, at Penn State’s Pro Day later in March. At pro day, Brisker’s vertical jump reached 38.5 inches, with was four-inches higher than his combine jump.