Blue White Illustrated

January 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 32 of 67

J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 2 3 3 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M Penn State. But an injury to a teammate halfway through the Nittany Lions' campaign changed his outlook consid- erably. A Maryland native who is listed at 6-3, 295 pounds, Izzard became Penn State's primary starter at defensive tackle alongside senior transfer Der- rick Tangelo once senior PJ Mustipher went down for the season with an un- disclosed lower-body injury at Iowa. While Mustipher, an honorable men- tion All-Big Ten choice in 2020, was not easily replaced, Izzard did the best he could. There were few if any in- stances of him looking out of place on the field, even though he was receiving more first-team reps than he could have ever anticipated against some of the Big Ten's better opponents. Following Penn State's 28-0 shutout of Rutgers, a game in which the Nittany Lions held the Scarlet Knights to 160 yards of total offense, Izzard said he had made his biggest strides in "striking on my keys and [understanding] the flow and intention of my plays." "You guys saw it today," he continued, "and you'll see improvement throughout the year." Ultimately, Izzard ended the regular season with 20 tackles, including three for loss and two sacks. Another young defensive tackle, red- shirt sophomore Dvon Ellies, also de- serves recognition for his work replacing Mustipher's reps. Together, they helped Penn State hold opponents to 16.8 points and 344.0 yards per game, even though Mustipher missed all but a few snaps of the team's last seven regular-season games. "Obviously, [Izzard has] been forced into a different scenario now," Frank- lin said during the season. "I think he's playing pretty well. So did the defen- sive coaches. He's a twitchy guy who's got the size that really you want at that position. It's hard to find. We've been really pleased with him. Dvon obviously is a year older, has been in the program a little bit longer, has got a little bit better understanding of how and why we do things, another really talented guy. "Both are out of Maryland, McDonogh High School [which Ellies attended] and DeMatha [Izzard's high school alma ma- ter]. I think both of them have a bright future. Obviously, the scenario has changed from the beginning of the year to now, what their role and our expecta- tions are going to be of them." JAYLEN REED | S King stole the headlines during the offseason, but Reed progressed perhaps just as nicely. Another Detroit native, he played in seven games prior to the Out- back Bowl, seeing most of his action on special teams but also contributing at safety, the position he will play in the coming years at Penn State. Heading into the final month of the regular season, the coaching staff had a seemingly tough decision to make re- garding Reed's future and whether to burn his redshirt by playing him in more than the four games that freshmen are allotted if they want to preserve their first-year eligibility. But to hear Franklin tell it, it really wasn't as difficult a choice as it might have appeared. "We're going to play him," the coach said in November. "He wants to play. He's ready to play. We need him on spe- cial teams. We need him in some of our defensive packages as well. That will help him moving forward next year. "Football makes sense to him. He's a football-smart guy. He's obviously a physical guy. You guys [in the media] have seen flashes of that. And he can run, so we're very high on Jaylen." The 6-0, 209-pound defender had of- fers from all over, and it's clear why. He is rangy and athletic and is going to be an impact defender down the road, perhaps as soon as the 2022 season. Penn State will have to replace a starting safety with senior Jaquan Brisker moving on. Reed could well be the choice, although others will certainly fight for the opportunity. Whether he's a starter or a backup next season, Reed is set to play an expanded role under position coach Anthony Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Coziah Izzard went from backup to six-game starter after senior PJ Mustipher suf- fered a season-ending injury at Iowa. PHOTO BY STEVE MANUEL

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue White Illustrated - January 2022