Today we are continue our previews of Penn State’s players for 2014. As we prepare to move into August, the player previews are winding down. Today, we focus on redshirt senior safety Jesse Della Valle.
Currently listed on the depth chart as the No. 2 safety behind Adrian Amos, Della Valle will most likely once again see majority of his playing time in the return and special teams game.
Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Della Valle walked on to Penn State in 2010 and over the past two seasons was one of Bill O’Brien’s preferred walk-ons. Appearing last year in mostly the return game, Della Valle led the team in punt return yards. He recorded 18 punt returns for a total of 156 yards – an 8.7 yards per return average.
The 6-foot-1, 203-pound safety did see time on the defensive side of the ball where he filled in as a reserve. He recorded 13 tackles and 8 assists in 10 games. His biggest defensive performance of the season came last year versus Ohio State where he recorded 4 solo tackles and assisted on 5 more.
As far as for what we can expect from Della Valle this coming season, we expect it to be similar to that of the past two seasons. We believe he will be a main contributor on special teams and will see action on the defensive side of the ball in a reserve role. One thing that we know for sure is that Della Valle will be one of the leaders of this team and will do anything that Coach Franklin and his staff ask of him to do.