Penn State Football: 10 storylines that will define Nittany Lions’ 2021 season

Penn State Nittany Lions cheerleaders (Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports)
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Tariq Castro-Fields #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates a interception during (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

2. A Great Secondary

This Penn State Football team returns a lot of experience in the secondary this season.

The two veterans who will lead this group are Tariq Castro-Fields at cornerback and Jaquan Brisker at safety.

Castro-Fields enters his fifth season with the Nittany Lions, and will be his third season as a full time starter. It should be noted, however, that Castro-Fields only appeared in three games in 2020 due to injury.

He will be joined at cornerback by Joey Porter Jr and true freshman Kalen King. The Big Ten Network’s Howard Griffith had this to say about King:

"“To me he is a guy who has All Big-Ten and possibly All-American type talent”"

Kalen King was also selected to the preseason freshman All-American team by 247 Sports. Howard Griffith also spoke highly of Joey Porter Jr during the Big Ten Network’s stop in Happy Valley for their annual campus tour. Griffith mentioned how Porter Jr has long arms which is a great asset for a cornerback to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and also to deflect/break up passes.

Finally, the safety position is led by Jaquan Brisker who, along with Brandon Smith, was also selected to Bruce Feldman’s “Freak List”, coming it at number 76. Brisker was also a Pro Football Focus first team All-American in 2020. Brisker will be joined by Jonathan Sutherland and Ji’Ayir Brown, both of which have a lot of experience at the college level. State College native Keaton Ellis will also transition to safety after two seasons of experience at the cornerback position.