We continue previewing the defensive side of the ball with another defensive end: redshirt freshman Garrett Sickels.
Sickels is from Red Bank, NJ and starred at Red Bank Regional High School, where he garnered All-State and All-American honors his junior and senior seasons. Sickels was a very sought-after recruit. He was ranked by Rivals as the No. 101 overall player nationally, the No. 4 defensive end in the country and the No. 4 player from New Jersey in the 2013 class.
Sickels had some big time offers, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford and more. He became the second member of Penn State’s 2013 class when he pledged on March 4, 2012. The only other player to commit before him was Christian Hackenberg.
As it was mentioned in our preview of fellow defensive end C.J. Olaniyan, Olaniyan and Deion Barnes will more than likely be the starters out of the gate at defensive end. With the presence of some other solid role players at that position, one could wonder whether there will even be playing time for the redshirt freshman Sickels. However, there’s a reason why he was offered by some of the biggest programs in the nation.
Standing at 6-4, 246 pounds, Sickels has the size and talent to contribute at defensive end immediately in 2014. A common football philosophy is that you can never have enough pass rushers. In today’s day and age of no huddle, fast paced offenses, being able to cycle enough defensive ends in and out to pressure the quarterback is a great luxury to have.
Even though Penn State is still strapped with scholarship limitations, defensive end is a position of strength due to its depth and talent. Sickels is capable of having a season similar to the one that Barnes had when he was a redshirt freshman in 2012.
Somewhere around 20 tackles, five sacks and a couple of forced fumbles seem reasonable for Sickels in his first year of collegiate action.