8. LB Curtis Jacobs
With the likes of PJ Mustipher and Ji’Ayir Brown now gone, Penn State’s defense needs a new leader, and it very well could be senior linebacker Curtis Jacobs.
Playing in 12 games in 2022, Jacobs was third on the team in tackles with 52. He also added 7.5 TFLs and four sacks, along with an interception that he returned for a touchdown.
Jacobs started the season at the WILL linebacker position after playing the SAM the two seasons prior. There definitely was an adjustment period for Jacobs, but he got things going a few games in.
The emergence of Abdul Carter, who also plays the WILL, took some reps away from Jacobs as the staff figured out how to get its best two linebackers on the field together. In 2023, Jacobs will likely return to the SAM, where he seems more comfortable, and has a chance to have a massive senior season.
With offenses worried about Carter and Penn State’s stud pass rushers, Jacobs will have the opportunity to make plenty of plays this season.