On January 10th, Penn State football linebacker Curtis Jacobs announced that he will be returning to Penn State for the 2023 instead of entering the NFL Draft.
This was huge news for the Penn State football team, as they have a lot of depth at linebacker; however, that depth is relatively inexperienced for the most part, as most of their on-the-field experience was last fall. With Abdul Carter, Kobe King, Tyler Elsdon, Dominic DeLuca, and many others entering their second season in Manny Diaz’s system, quite a few fans wondered who will be the next coach on the field. Great teams typically have one linebacker or safety that is an extension of the coaching staff on the field. Their role includes communicating a play or formation they recognize from film study or just helping guys get lined up before the next play. Curtis Jacobs will fill those shoes this fall, a role that Ji’Ayir Brown held last season.
Additionally, there are many true freshman linebackers that could use a year to observe how Jacobs handles himself in every situation. Whether that be game day preparation, how he studies film, or even how he corrects his own mistakes. It will be important for Tony Rojas, Ta’Mere Robinson, Kaveion Keys, and others to soak in as much knowledge as they can from the veteran linebacker.
When Jacobs chose to return to the Penn State football team he put his NFL career on hold, at least for one more season but I believe this was the best move for him. Now, that he will be more comfortable within Manny Diaz’s system, he could have a statistical explosion this year.
For perspective, Jacobs ended the 2022 season with 52 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, and 3 passes defended which are all great numbers. I would expect a significant jump in a lot of these numbers by the end of 2023.
This is a player who is betting on himself during the 2023 campaign to improve his NFL draft stock. But, he also has returned to State College to attempt to bring home a Big Ten and a National Championship back to Penn State.
With Jacobs back, those aspirations become even more possible. Look for #23 to take on a leadership role, and be a game wrecker this fall.