Penn State Football: bold predictions for some of Nittany Lions’ top-rated freshmen

Westerville South's Kaden Saunders stiff arms Westerville North's Adam Ingram during their game Sept. 24.
Westerville South's Kaden Saunders stiff arms Westerville North's Adam Ingram during their game Sept. 24. /
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Penn State Football
PJ Mustipher #97 of the Penn State Nittany Lions  (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Penn State Football defensive tackle – Zane Durant

There was a lot of talk surrounding Zane Durant during winter workouts, and for good reason.

Along with being tremendously fast, explosive, and athletic, the 6-foot-1, 265-pound freshman from Florida is also very refined in his fundamentals and technique as a defensive lineman.

Recruiting analyst for Blue-White Illustrated, Thomas Frank Carr, had this to say in his film study of Durant:

"“He’s got unbelievably good positional skills where he’s not just winning with speed, you can see how he uses his hands and it’s effective … he can set offensive tackles up with multiple moves, he can rip, swim … he can maintain his gap discipline, and when you look at his run defense, he can play the point of attack well.”"

So, with all of that in mind, it doesn’t seem as if Zane Durant has far to go, in terms of development, before he is ready to make an impact at the Division I level. Combine that with the fact that he was able to enroll early to get a jump start on whatever improvements he does need to make, and all signs point to Durant making an immediate impact in his true freshman season.


Zane Durant will do enough this offseason to earn a spot as a role player in the defensive tackle rotation that consists of three to four guys who have a lot of experience. He may only see a handful of meaningful snaps per game in the first few weeks, but with each passing week, he will become increasingly effective and earn more playing time as the season progresses.

By the time the regular season wraps up, Durant will be a key contributor in the two-deep at defensive tackle for the Nittany Lions, which is not something that happens often for defensive linemen at the Division I level. He could even have upwards of 20-25 tackles when the 2022 season concludes.