Penn State bolstered its defense this spring by adding Audavion Collins, a cornerback from Mississippi State University, and Alonzo Ford, a defensive tackle from Old Dominion, through the transfer portal.
Coach James Franklin explained both additions to reporters at Thursday’s media availability inside the Lasch Building.
Penn State thought it had added cornerback depth in the transfer portal this winter when All-ACC performer Storm Duck transferred in from North Carolina.
But Duck re-entered the portal not long after the school’s annual Blue-White Game.
He ended up back in the ACC at Louisville.
So Franklin and Penn State had to go back to the drawing board and found Collins.
Collins didn’t see the field for Mississippi State in his first season. Thus, Penn State had to rely on Collins’ film from high school.
He was a three-star at Newton High School in Covington, Georgia, and Penn State liked what it saw.
“We had gotten the transfer portal and got a young man, and then that young man ended up leaving,” Franklin said. “Finding another guy like that was important, and we went back and watched his (Collins’s) high school tape. He’s in a slightly different situation. He’s got four years of eligibility, which is unusual. So we had to go back and watch his high school tape. We liked his high school tape.
Franklin’s had an advantage in getting Ford. Ford played at Old Dominion under former Penn State offensive coordinator and current ODU head coach Ricky Rahne.
Franklin has stressed Penn State’s need to beef up its interior defensive line for a while and feels Ford will help them.
Penn State liked how Ford performed against Power Five opponents, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
He’ll see a lot more Power Five opponents in the Big Ten.
“I just felt like we needed a little more depth at defensive tackle,” he said. “Again, those positions, there’s a lot of physicality and contact, so having some guys with experience at those positions and depth, being able to watch him on tape against Virginia and against Virginia Tech and how he played against those opponents was helpful for us because we feel like that’s got the best ability for us to determine kind of how his skills will transfer at this level.”
Ford finished last season with 32 total tackles, with 14 of them being solo.
Ford also finished with five tackles for a loss and 3.5 total sacks.