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Pair of Penn State football defenders named ‘breakout candidates’ by Pro Football Focus

Multiple Penn State football defenders are gearing up for breakout seasons in 2023.



Penn State football defenders, Chop Robinson, Kalen King
Oct 21, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Fireworks shoot into the air prior to the game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Michigan 42-13. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Today, a pair of Penn State football defenders were named “breakout candidates” ahead of the 2023 season, which is set to kick off this fall. This announcement further fuels the already incredible hype surrounding the team and its defense, led by second-year defensive play-caller Manny Diaz. Kalen King and Chop Robinson, who had impressive seasons in 2022, have both earned spots on PFF’s list.

2 Penn State football defenders named ‘breakout candidates’ by PFF

Kalen King 

The first Penn State football player named on today’s “breakout candidates” list from Pro Football Focus is Kalen King, a rising star in the Blue and White who had an incredible season ago. In his second year, King is determined to take the next step and become an All-American.

He has already been named a preseason All-American, but according to King himself, those honors mean nothing until he earns them in the postseason.

To date in his Penn State football career, star cornerback Kalen King has played in 26 games, amassing 53 tackles, three interceptions, 26 passes defended, two forced fumbles, and four tackles for loss. In the previous season, both the Walter Camp Foundation and Pro Football Focus recognized him by naming him to their All-America teams. He also earned an All-Big Ten selection and received the team’s Keystone State Award.

Chop Robinson

The second Nittany Lions star to break the list, which includes ten names total, is Penn State football defender Chop Robinson, who transferred to Penn State from Maryland a year ago. During his one season in the Blue and White, it became clear that Robinson is trending towards becoming a top performer in the Big Ten and in the nation; he was the nation’s top-graded pass rusher in 2022, and is currently slated as a top-3 EDGE in football.

Chop Robinson possesses an imposing 6-foot-3, 253-pound frame, which makes him an ideal pass rusher. His skills match his impressive physique. In his debut season with Penn State football, Robinson played a crucial role in Manny Diaz‘s formidable defense. He contributed 26 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, two pass deflections, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

In 2022, Robinson earned the distinction of being PFF’s top-graded pass rusher nationwide. As he enters his second season with the Blue and White, he continues to hold the top spot, being named the No. 1 returning pass rusher for the upcoming 2023 season.

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