STATE COLLEGE — Yetur Gross-Matos became the first Penn State player to be selected in the 2020 NFL draft on Friday when the Carolina Panthers drafted the defensive end with the sixth pick of the second round.
The move connects Gross-Matos with first-year Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, a former State College resident who played linebacker at Penn State under Joe Paterno.
Gross-Matos concluded his Penn State career ranked tied for 10th in all-time sacks with 19. He recorded 40 tackles last season, including 15 for a loss. Gross-Matos paced the Nittany Lions’ defense with 9.5 sacks, which ranked seventh among Big Ten defenders last season.
Gross-Matos accumulated 111 total tackles including 37 tackles for loss to go with 19 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 38 games during his Penn State career. The Spotsylvania, Virginia, native emerged as a formidable threat on the defensive line in 2018 during a season in which he tallied career highs in tackles (54) and forced fumbles (two).
Rhule coached Baylor to an 11-3 record during a 2019 season that saw the Bears play in both the Big 12 championship game and the Sugar Bowl. The Panthers went 5-11 last season before parting ways with nine-year head coach Ron Rivera.