S Zakee Wheatley
Penn State Football will lose one of its best players from the 2022 team in safety Ji’Ayir Brown, who is off to the NFL.
With Brown gone, there is a large void in Penn State’s secondary that must be filled. One of the candidates to replace Brown is Zakee Wheatley, who will be in his third season in 2023.
Wheatley flashed signs of greatness as a reserve in 2022. Playing in all 13 games, Wheatley recorded 27 tackles with two interceptions and a forced fumble. The safety is flat out a playmaker, much like Brown was.
Simply put, Wheatley has a nose for the ball. He earned the nickname “Takeaway King” after receiving the award from the coaching staff both during Spring and Fall camps in 2022. That name translated over the field.
Now with a starting opportunity in front of him, Wheatley will receive more reps in practice and have another offseason in the strength and conditioning program.
The two recent great safeties Penn State has had, Brown and Jaquan Brisker, both saw the light come on during their third season in college and then turned into stars. The same could very well happen for Wheatley as 2023 will be his redshirt sophomore year.
The Nittany Lions need a new ballhawk in the secondary with Brown gone, and Wheatley very well may be the guy.