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Penn State Football All 105

Penn State Football All 105: ‘Dependable’ Nick Tarburton Returning Starter at Defensive End

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Nick Tarburton

All 105 is a Nittany Sports Now series profiling each Penn State football player. This edition will look at redshirt senior defensive end Nick Tarburton

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 269 pounds

Hometown: Green Lane, Pennsylvania

Before Penn State: Tarburton lettered three years at Penn Ridge High School.

In his senior season, Tarburton’s play at inside linebacker— 98 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, seven sacks— made him a finalist for the 2017 Mr. Pa Football Class 4A-6A Award and a first-team All-State selection by USA Today.

Tarburton also had success before his senior season, breaking North Penn’s single-season tackles record with 100 as a sophomore.

247Sports, Rivals and ESPN all had Tarburton as a four-star recruit. 247 and Rivals both had him as the No. 6 player in Pennsylvania from his class, and Rivals had him as the No. 10 inside linebacker in the country.

He committed to Penn State in February of 2017.

At Penn State

2018: Tarburton redshirted his first season at Penn State, but appeared in the first two games of the season, making his college debut in the season opener against Appalachian State and also playing on defense and special teams in Penn State’s 51-6 win over Pitt.

2019: Tarburton didn’t see any game action in his redshirt freshman season.

2020: Tarburton played in seven of Penn State’s nine games in a pandemic-shortened campaign.

He made his first career tackle Nov. 21 against Iowa at Beaver Stadium and also had a QB hurry in that game.

Tarburton also saw time on special teams in 2020.

2021: Tarburton’s role significantly increased in his redshirt junior season.

He played in all 13 of Penn State’s games and started eight, ending the season with 30 tackles (13 solo), four tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery.

The fumble recovery took place in the second half of Penn State’s Week 1 win at Wisconsin, ending Badger scoring threat.

Where he stands: It can be argued that Tarburton has been overshadowed in his position group this season.

At defensive end, Adisa Isaac’s return from injury and the arrivals of five-star signee Dani Dennis-Sutton and University of Maryland transfer Chop Robinson have been the main storylines headed into opening night.

Although Tarburton hasn’t been talked about as much, he’s still a seasoned and significant part of coordinator Manny Diaz’s first Penn State defense.

He’s the only returning defensive end who started in 2021, and he’s an important part of what Penn State is trying to do in ‘22.

A quote about Tarburton: “You’ve got a guy like Nick Tarburton,” Diaz said when discussing Penn State’s defensive ends this past spring. “Always dependable.”

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