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Penn State in the NFL

‘I Feel Like This Year is The Year’: Former Penn State, Current Bears Safety Jaquan Brisker High on ’23 Squad

Former Penn State and current Chicago Bears safety Jaquan Brisker was a tad biased. He admitted it. 

In an exclusive interview at Brisker’s first Youth Football Camp, Nittany Sports Now asked Brisker if he had a record prediction for his alma mater’s 2023 season, which begins Sept. 2 under the Beaver Stadium lights against West Virginia. 

“I feel like they’re going to go undefeated, be Big Ten champs and win the natty,” Brisker said. “Not because I went to Penn State, but yeah, because I went to Penn State.”

Who could blame Brisker for being bullish on the school that helped make him a millionaire?

But make no mistake, Brisker believes in this PSU squad. 

“The team that they have, the coaches that they have, the pieces that they put together, I feel like this is the year,” Brisker said. 

There’s a lot to like about this Penn State team. It will almost certainly rank in the preseason top 10. 

PSU finished No. 7 last season after an 11-2 campaign that ended with Rose Bowl win. Coach James Franklin’s team returns most of its key pieces. 

Starting with the defense, Penn State has playmakers at defensive end (Adisa Isaac, Chop Robinson), linebacker (Abdul Carter, Curtis Jacobs), and cornerback (Kalen King). At Brisker’s position group, safety, Penn State lost Brisker’s friend and new San Francisco 49er, Ji’Ayir Brown, but returns Brisker’s old teammates Jaylen Reed, Zakee Wheatley and Keaton Ellis. 

Offensively, Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen are back after revamping Penn State’s run game as true freshmen and should be even better in Year 2. They’ll run behind what could be Penn State’s best offensive line in more than a decade. And, of course, everybody is excited about projected starting quarterback Drew Allar. 

Brisker is psyched to see pretty much every aspect of this Penn State team.

“I feel like the offensive line, too,” Brisker said. “Don’t sleep (on them). Also, the defensive line. There’s so many positions. I can’t… linebacker, linebacker U, it’s so many positions, but I feel like the positions I named are a lot more experienced, and then the running backs too… tight ends, they have everybody. It’s balanced.”

Brisker’s time at PSU was up and down from a team standpoint. In Brisker’s first season, 2019, he played a significant role in an 11-2 campaign ending with a Cotton Bowl win. But The team won just as many games in Brisker’s first season as it would combine to win over his last two. Penn State went 11-11 over the 2020 and ’21 years.

No Penn State team that Brisker or anybody else played on has been to the College Football Playoff. To get there, another former PSU player now in the NFL, Miles Sanders, told NSN that “everybody knows we have to get those two wins,” meaning Michigan and Ohio State. 

Michigan and Ohio State figure to be in the top 10 along with Penn State. A win over at least one is likely a requirement for Penn State to fulfill its national title dreams. 

Brisker believes those dreams will become a reality. 

“They’ve been coming close, but I feel like this is the year this year,” he said. 

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