Penn State cornerback Jordan Lucas finished the 2013 season as one of the most impressive Nittany Lions on the defensive side of the ball. After playing in the secondary and on special teams as a true freshman in 2012, Lucas grabbed a starting spot for 2013 and made the most of his opportunity with big hits and timely interceptions. This season, Lucas will be looked at as one of the defensive leaders and could be in line for a big year.
When I recently asked Lucas about his prospects for the upcoming season he talked about his preparations and hopes to improve further this year. “Personally, I have really been putting in a lot of work to ensure that I can take my game to another level from my last season.”
In 2013, the Nittany Lions really struggled in the secondary to start the season. Penn State ranked as one of the worst pass defenses in the Big Ten Conference after giving up huge days through the air to guys like Blake Bortles and Nate Sudfeld. However, partway through the season things began to click in the secondary, and Lucas was a big part of that.
Lucas finished last season third on the team with 65 total tackles, including an 11-tackle performance at Ohio State, and tied for the team lead with three interceptions.
This season, Lucas will once again be one of the starting cornerbacks and will use his skill and experience to be one of the leaders of the group. Of the entire secondary Lucas is probably the surest thing as far as position goes, as he fits clearly at cornerback. Guys like Adrian Amos, Ryan Keiser and Jesse Della Valle could all be moved around to different positions within the defensive backfield in order to find the perfect combination.
Aside from showcasing his skills on defense, Lucas will likely get a chance to factor in the return game in 2014. James Franklin has stated his plan to improve the Penn State special teams by using more starters. During spring practice, Lucas worked with the punt return team and was also back to receive punts during the Blue-White Game.
This season, with a bunch of experience returning in the secondary, the Nittany Lions should be much improved at defending the pass. Lucas, who has already shown an ability to make big plays, will play an important role in that success. While individual accolades could be heading towards Lucas in the near future, he made sure to stress the importance of his teammates and the preparation the team as a whole has done.
“I feel like the team is very optimistic about this upcoming season. You can just feel it in the locker room amongst the team. I think that comes with everything that we do, whether it is training or film. We all put in extra work, which is necessary to get to our goal.”