The return of Adisa Isaac and Hakeem Beamon
Last season, the Nittany Lions were without both Adisa Isaac and Hakeem Beamon along the defensive line.
After appearing in 11 of 13 games in 2019, and in all nine games in 2020, Isaac was likely to be a key contributor for Penn State Football in 2021, but he suffered an offseason injury that left him sidelined for the entire season.
As for Beamon, it was announced early in the season that he would be “unavailable” for the entire 2021 campaign, though he did still practice. We can safely assume that his absence was probably not injury-related, but whatever it was, it will be helpful to get the redshirt junior defensive tackle back in the rotation.
Assuming both of them are good to go for spring practice, it will be interesting to see where they fit into the current rotation.
It will also be interesting to see how Isaac looks physically, coming off of a significant injury. How will his speed, power, and explosiveness look?
Beamon was originally a defensive end who got bumped inside to play defensive tackle, so he does not have much experience there. His development at what is still a relatively new position for him, will be a key factor in knowing just how good the interior of the defensive line can be this season.
As it stands, the pass rush looks to be one of the Nittany Lions’ biggest weaknesses in 2022, but having a fully healthy Adisa Isaac back in the mix can certainly help change that.
On the interior, the Nittany Lions return All-Big Ten performer PJ Mustipher, as well as Coziah Izzard and Dvon Ellies, each of which has plenty of experience.
However, having Beamon’s presence back at that position is important, as he was seen as a potential starter heading into last season.
Both of the redshirt junior defensive linemen can help this defense in a big way in 2022, so keeping up with their status and/or progress throughout spring ball will be one of the top storylines over the next five weeks.