Connect with us


Curtis Jacobs Will Boost Penn State’s Defense in 2023

Earlier this week, Curtis Jacobs announced that he will be returning to State College in 2023. This is exciting news for Manny Diaz and PSU fans alike.



First-year Penn State football defensive coordinator Manny Diaz walks onto the turf with other members of the team during football media day at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, August 6, 2022, in State College. Hes Dr 080622 Psumedia

On Tuesday afternoon, linebacker Curtis Jacobs announced his intention to return to Penn State for 2023. Jacobs becomes the latest in a flurry of Nittany Lion defenders to announce their returns this week, including Adisa Isaac and Dvon Ellies.

Production boost

Jacobs is a former four-star out of the McDonogh School (MD) from the 2020 class and appeared in 8 games as a true freshman. A recent mainstay in the Penn State defense, Jacobs started 22 games over the last two seasons.

Jacobs has had a productive career so far at Penn State. He has recorded 122 tackles in his career, 74 of which have been solo tackles. Jacobs also has 15 total tackles for loss, including 7 sacks.

By far, Jacobs’s most versatile season was 2022. Jacobs ranked third on the team with 52 total tackles. He posted career-highs in both tackles for loss and sacks, with 7.5 and 4, respectively. Jacobs also had a pick-six against Michigan and a forced fumble this season.

Jacobs capped his season with a strong showing in the Rose Bowl, where he had 5 tackles and a career-high two sacks.

Elevating play

With the decision from Curtis Jacobs, Penn State will essentially return all three starters at linebacker next fall. Although the Nittany Lions will lose Jonathan Sutherland (who started the year), Jacobs saw the field for an increasing number of snaps alongside standout true freshman Abdul Carter to end the season. This combination was pivotal to Penn State’s stellar end to the season defensively. Over the final 5 games, the Nittany Lions allowed 61 points or just above 12 points per contest.

In 2022, the Nittany Lions improved upon an already elite defense. Penn State allowed an average of 18.2 points per game, which ranked 10th nationally. It held opponents under 20 points nine times, which it only did six times the previous year. The Nittany Lions were also a top-20 defense in terms of yards allowed per game.

Jacobs’s play was a significant catalyst behind Penn State’s ability to force more negative plays in 2022. The Nittany Lions recorded 43 sacks, up 17 from the year prior. The defense also ranked 9th in the nation with 26 forced turnovers.

Building something special?

There are still lingering questions that will need to be answered this off-season. First and foremost, Penn State needs both size and depth at the defensive tackle position to help with the physical running teams of the Big Ten. So far, the Nittany Lions have struck out in the transfer portal, so expect this to become an increasing priority for the rest of the winter and spring.

Even with the return of essentially three starters, the Nittany Lions could use additional depth at the linebacker position. Outside of Kobe King and Dom DeLuca, who combined for 500 snaps on the season, no other linebacker in the rotation played more than 100 snaps in 2022. This could leave room for talented linebackers from the incoming recruiting class, such as Tony Rojas or Ta’Mere Robinson, to help fill the void.

But overall, the defense was already shaping into a highly talented unit in 2023. Jacobs’s return, along with Isaac and Ellis, will provide a veteran presence on this side of the ball. Coming off back-to-back years where the Nittany Lions posted top 10 statistics, it’s anticipated that the defense will have another productive year.

However, after Penn State’s dominating Rose Bowl win, the expectations around 2023 are beginning to build. On both sides of the ball, the Nittany Lions are looking for playmakers to help elevate the program to the next level. Many in Happy Valley hope that Curtis Jacobs will do just that next season.

Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


Spinstralia Casino: online pokies real money, real fun! Get in on the action today!