Penn State's secondary struggles

Iowa running back Tyler Goodson, left, pushes Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker on a run during the first quarter of Saturday’s game in State College.

STATE COLLEGE – Penn State's football team got a double dose of good news this week when two returning starters announced they would return in 2021.

Earlier this week, senior safety Jaquan Brisker and redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Rasheed Walker announced they would return to Happy Valley for the upcoming season.

Brisker, a Lackawanna College transfer, returns with nine starts and experience in 22 collegiate games. Last season, he posted his best year to date with the Nittany Lions, as he recorded 57 total tackles to go with one interception and six pass deflections. Brisker at the end of the season was named a third-team All-Big Ten player by conference coaches, and he received recognition as an honorable mention selection by select members of the Big Ten media.

Brisker played in 13 games in 2019. He ended the season – his first at Penn State – with 32 total tackles.

Walker returns as one of the Nittany Lions’ most experienced offensive linemen, as he’s accumulated 22 starts during his time with the program.

He started nine games at left tackle as a redshirt sophomore in 2020. As a freshman in 2019, Walker logged 13 starts at left tackle. He landed on the Pro Football Focus Big Ten Team of the Week list after Penn State defeated Purdue that season. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound lineman played in four contests as a true freshman in 2018.

Penn State’s rushing offense in 2020 ranked fifth in the Big Ten in rushing behind 174.3 yards per game and 1,569 yards during the season. In 2019, Walker’s first season as a starter, the Nittany Lions ranked fourth in the conference in rushing with 190.6 yards per game and 2,478 overall yards rushing.

Penn State junior wide receiver Jahan Dotson and senior cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields have also announced they will return for the 2021 season.

The NCAA last year offered an extra year of eligibility to all players as relief from the coronavirus pandemic.  

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