All 105 is Nittany Sports Now series profiling each Penn State football player. Here is a profile of safety Zakee Wheatley.
Weight: 191 pounds
Hometown: Crofton, Maryland
Before Penn State: Wheatley, a four-star recruit who was Penn State’s fourth-highest rated signee according to 247Sports, came to Penn State after playing at Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn, Maryland. Covid-19 limited Wheatley’s senior season to just two games, but in that time, Wheatley scored two touchdowns and picked off two passes.
In his last full high school season as a junior, Wheatley stood out on defense and offense, having five interceptions and catching 56 passes for 810 yards and seven touchdowns. Wheatley’s play got him selected to the Big 33 Game, which is an All-Star exhibition between the best high school football players in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
At the end of his high school career, Wheatley was rated the 10th best overall player in Maryland by Rivals.com. He also twice lettered in basketball and played baseball his freshman year.
Wheatley has six siblings; four brothers and two sisters.
2021: Wheatley redshirted his freshman season, appearing in four games.
Where he stands: Wheatley transitioned to safety over the offseason, and impressed during spring camp, becoming Penn State’s “takeaway king,” leading the team in interceptions.
Penn State starting safeties are projected to be veteran Ji’Ayir Brown and fellow 2021 signee Jaylen Reed. Wheatley may be capable of playing corner, but safety looks to be where he’ll see most, if not all, of his playing time in 2022.
A quote about Wheatley:
”It was great getting him in the (safeties), room,” safeties coach/co-defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter said in a coaches media availability session earlier this month. “We felt as a staff (that) he could do it at corner, but his more natural position is at safety.”
”It was a nice transition for him. He has a ways to go but we love what we’re seeing out of him right now.”