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Penn State pass rush ready to wreak HAVOC this season

Two Penn State defenders were recently ranked among the top three edge rushers in the Big Ten this season.



Penn State Football, Penn State pass rush, Chop Robinson, Adisa Isaac, Big Ten
Pressure from Penn State's Adisa Isaac (20) and Kaleb Artis (58) force Minnesota quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis (8) to throw an incompletion and bring up fourth down during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in State College. Hes Dr 102222 Whiteout

Penn State football is expected to have one of the top defenses in the entire country coming into the 2023 season. Each layer of the Nittany Lion defense is littered with potential All-Americans and top NFL Draft picks. One area where the defense excelled in year one under Manny Diaz was in the pressure created off the edge. Now, the Penn State pass rush looks to be elite once again this year. This effort starts up front, where two Nittany Lion defenders, Chop Robinson and Adisa Isaac, were recently ranked as top three edge rushers in the Big Ten.

Chop Robinson and Adisa Isaac ranked as top three edge rushers in the Big Ten

Monday, Howard Griffith of the Big Ten Network shared his list of the top five edge rushers in the conference heading into the 2023 season. Griffith’s list was top-heavy with members of the Penn State pass rush, with Chop Robinson and Adisa Isaac taking home the first and third slots, respectively.

Adisa Isaac took home third-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches for his play in 2022. As a redshirt junior, Isaac recorded a team-leading 11 tackles for loss, including four sacks, and eight quarterback hurries last year. Last week, Isaac was voted as a captain for this season. He also represented the Nittany Lions at Big Ten media day in July.

Chop Robinson has received much media attention for his play last year. A second-team All-Big Ten selection according to Pro Football Focus, many expect Robinson to be a potential first-round NFL Draft pick next spring. Last year, Robinson had 10 tackles for loss, and recorded 5.5 sacks, good for second most on the team. Playing at 240 pounds last year, Robinson recently noted that he’s bulked up by about 10-15 pounds heading into this season.

Penn State pass rush is ready to be elite again in 2023

In 2022, first-year defensive coordinator Manny Diaz made an elite defense even better. One area where Penn State football improved immensely on the defensive side of the ball in 2022 compared to 2021 was in the pass rush. The Nittany Lions recorded 43 sacks last season, up 17 from the year prior.

Although he’s reiterated a “start from zero” mentality at numerous points this offseason, Diaz and the Nittany Lion defense have the opportunity to continue these great strides heading into 2023. With the return of veteran leaders like Isaac and Curtis Jacobs, the presence of potential superstars like Robinson and Abdul Carter, and perhaps a sprinkle of true freshman pop from the likes of Tony Rojas, the Penn State pass rush could be dominant again this fall.

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A third-generation Penn Stater, Matt is Editor-in-Chief for Basic Blues Nation, co-host of the podcast PSU Tailgate Talk, and a credentialed member of the Penn State football media. Matt also works as a staffer in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Matt lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife and a small army of pets.