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Penn State Football All 105

Penn State Football All 105: Veteran Keaton Ellis now a Team Captain

Penn State Nittany Lions safety Keaton Ellis (2) November 12, 2022 David Hague/NSN

All 105 is a Nittany Sports Now series profiling each Penn State football player. Here’s a profile of safety Keaton Ellis. 

Before Penn State: Ellis was a three-time letterman at State College Area High School. He helped the Little Lions to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class 6A championship game in 2018. That year, he played running back, wide receiver and defensive back. He recorded 1,376 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns on offense. Defensively, he picked up 51 tackles, four interceptions, nine pass breakups and three fumble recoveries on defense.

Ellis was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2019, ending up as the No. 2 player in Pennsylvania. He was also the No. 14 cornerback nationally and the No. 130 overall prospect, according to 247Sports. Both of Ellis’ parents attended and worked at Penn State. His father, Bruce, played for Joe Paterno from 1973-1976.

2019: Ellis played in all 13 games. He picked up 18 tackles (9 solo), three forced three fumbles, a fumble recovery and two pass breakups.

2020: Ellis appeared in six games. He recorded 12 tackles (7 solo), one interception, one tackle for loss, and two pass breakups.

2021: Ellis appeared in 11 games. He finished with 18 tackles (14 solo) and a pass breakup.

Last Season: Started all 13 games, recording a career-best 24 tackles (15 solo), two for loss and seven pass breakups, including four in Penn State’s season-opening 35-31 victory at Purdue. He had a season-high five tackles in Penn State’s 41-17 loss at Michigan Oct. 15.

WHERE HE STANDS: Ellis is projected to remain a starter at safety this season and will have an even bigger role on the team. He was already named a team captain for the 2023 season by head coach James Franklin, along with Olu Fashanu (offense) and Dominic DeLuca (special teams). He’ll play a role in leading the defense which could be one of the best in the nation under coordinator Manny Diaz. 

A quote from Ellis: “I am playing a lot faster,” Ellis said about his switch from cornerback to safety two years ago. “I understand the defense now. There is a lot less thinking about what my responsibility is and (more) just playing and going off what the offense is doing. I’m really having fun at the position.”

A quote about Ellis: “We did name three captains today, and we will wait until we get through training camp and Possibly add three more,” Franklin said when he named Ellis a team captain after this year’s Blue-White Game. “Keaton Ellis on defense, Olu Fashanu on offense and Dom Delucia on special teams.”


Twitter: @bwalkerdadon

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