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Iowa at Penn State Draft Prospect Recap

by Emmet Mahon

In the storied history of Penn State football, rarely has there been a game that demonstrated such utter domination than their recent contest hosting the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Nittany Lions dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage, as evidenced in a time-of-possession disparity of

45:27 to 14:33. Their performance in front of 110,830 mostly white attired fans was an epic

beatdown infused with a healthy dose of revenge for the painful, literal, and figurative, loss to

Iowa in 2021. This win was spearheaded by several Penn State players positioning themselves to

be selected in the 2024 NFL Draft. Even though the result was one-sided, a handful of Iowa

prospects helped themselves in the eyes of scouts.

Iowa Hawkeyes

S Cooper DeJean

DeJean is Iowa’s only first round prospect. Versatile and athletic, he managed four solo tackles

and one assisted tackle in this contest. None of his tackles were for loss and he had no passes

defensed. His natural position is safety, but on this night, Iowa deployed him in man coverage.

Penn State respected him by shying away from throwing in his direction. He returned two punts

for 15 yards. In the face of the Nittany Lion pummeling, he more than held his own.

P Troy Taylor

If there was one star for Iowa, it was easily Taylor. The one player specifically identified by Penn

State Head Coach James Franklin in his post-game press conference, saying his performance was

“tremendous.” Due to the Hawkeyes' offensive ineptitude, Taylor was called upon early and

often. His seven punts averaged 52.3 yards with a long of 60. Four of the seven punts traveled

over 50 yards. His efforts should lead to his garnering significant consideration for the Ray Guy

Award for the nation’s top punter.

TE Erick All

All was the Hawkeyes' leading pass catcher with three for a total of 35 yards. His fumble ended

Iowa’s opening, and lone sustained, drive. In a game with such dismal offensive output, it is

difficult for any Iowa receiver or runner to stand out. All will probably console himself knowing

that scouts will give this game its proper weight and not allow it to negatively impact his stock.

Even his fumble occurred with his knee within inches from being down and necessitating a

lengthy review.

LB Jay Higgins

The final score might signal an offensive explosion by Penn State, but that would not be fair to

the Iowa defense. The unit held the Nittany Lions largely in check during the first half. They

eventually succumbed to a combination of short fields and exhaustion. The leading tackler for

the Hawkeyes was LB Jay Higgins. Not highly ranked as a prospect, his 10 solo and eight

assisted tackles might cause some re-evaluation of him. Among Iowa defenders, Higgins stood


DL Yahya Black

Like the rest of the Iowa defense, Black did his best to stem the Penn State assault. Going up

against one of the Big Ten’s better offensive lines, Black was able to stick his nose in the middle

of the action, and when not making tackles, was disruptive enough to force runners to the

outside. Black registered seven tackles, four solo and three assisted, in a valiant effort.

DL Logan Lee

Playing next to Black, Lee had a similarly disruptive first half. Pressuring the interior of the Penn

State offensive line, he frustrated the Penn State efforts to establish the run. Lee finished with

one solo tackle and four assisted tackles. His tackle for loss was one of six for the Hawkeye


Penn State Nittany Lions

LB Curtis Jacobs

Toward the end of the 2022 season, speculation surrounded Jacobs on whether he would declare

for the 2023 NFL Draft. He eventually decided to return to Happy Valley and his leadership has

been invaluable to a still relatively young defense. His performance to date has been steady.

Against Iowa, he was the defensive MVP. Jacobs’s two solo and one assisted tackles were tied

for the team lead on a diversified attack. One of his tackles was for a loss and he became the first

Nittany Lion since Mark D’Onfrio in 1991 with two fumble recoveries in one game. One of the

recoveries came on a botched Iowa punt return. His special teams prowess will not go unnoticed

in scouts’ evaluations.

TE Tyler Warren

Warren is Penn State’s “other” tight end. He is only a junior, but a few more appearances like the

one against Iowa might have him seriously consider making himself eligible for the 2024 NFL

Draft. Warren’s two receptions both resulted in touchdowns. The touchdowns enhanced his

reputation as Mr. White Out. Half of Warren’s eight career touchdown receptions have occurred

in White Out games.

TE Theo Johnson

Penn State fans have been frustrated by the lack of production from Johnson. The do-it-all tight

end showed signs of emerging from his slumber against the Hawkeyes. He caught six balls for

42 yards but did not find the endzone. He did enough in all aspects of the offense to remind

scouts of his enormous potential.

WR KeAndre Lambert-Smith

KLS continues to produce at a high level. Again, he topped the Penn State receivers' stat sheet.

His team high eight receptions netted 66 yards. He added his third touchdown of the season.

Lambert-Smith entered 2023 as a peripheral prospect, but his numbers to date are resulting in his

continued ascension up draft boards.

DE Demeioun “Chop” Robinson

Robinson, a probable first round draft pick, has not had the individual statistics of a game

changer this season. However, he has forced offensive coordinators to adjust their schemes to

attack the opposite side of the field. Against Iowa, he had a game that was successful both on the

score sheet and to any observer. Robinson had both a solo and an assisted tackle. He sacked the

beleaguered Iowa quarterback Cade McNamara once for six yards. He hurried McNamara on

two other occasions and forced one of Iowa’s four fumbles. Even when he was not making plays,

he was disrupting whatever little flow the Hawkeye offense was attempting to produce.

DE Adisa Issac

Playing on the opposite end of Robinson, Isaac’s presence was equally noticeable. Like

Robinson, he had a sack, this one for a nine yard loss. He added a quarterback hurry to his sack.

Isaac’s primary contribution to the shutout was off the field. He articulated the message to his

teammates to challenge themselves to dominate Iowa. His message was so well received,

Franklin specifically mentioned it in his post-game presser.

CB Kalen King

King is another Nittany Lion positioned to hear his named called early at the draft next spring.

His one assisted tackle will not impress anyone looking at the box score. Over Penn State’s first

four games, King’s stat line appears very ordinary. Those statistics reflect the opposition absolute

resistance to throwing anywhere in his vicinity. He remains in the discussion for the first

cornerback drafted in 2024.

OTs Olumuyiwa “Olu” Fashanu and Caedan Wallace

The two dominant offensive tackles continue to live up to their hype. The key cogs in the Nittany

Lion offensive attack once again assisted to put impressive numbers in the box score. Fashanu

and Wallace kept star quarterback Drew Allar upright and clean with zero sacks allowed and only

three hurries 40 passing attempts. The hurries were occurring primarily up the middle against the

still developing guards and center. Penn State posted 182 yards passing and 215 yards rushing

with the protection those two provided.

Notes: The 110,830 attendance is second in Beaver Stadium history, trailing only the 2018 White

Out against Ohio State, which had 110, 889 in the stands. The 31-0 shutout of Iowa was the first

for Penn State since beating Maryland 30-0 last season and the first against a ranked opponent

since the 1999 Alamo Bowl against Texas A&M. The score was 24-0. Penn State had 97

offensive snaps to Iowa’s 33. That is the only time in the last five years of FBS action that one

team had more than 60 offensive plays than their opponent. The 76 yards allowed by Penn State

is the second fewest in program history. The record is a staggering -107 yards “allowed” against

Syracuse on October 18, 1947. The 76 yards also represent the second fewest gained by a Head

Coach Kirk Ferentz Iowa team.

OT Olu Fashanu was named the Outland Lineman of the Week for his performance against Iowa.

Emmet Mahon can be reached at

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