Ken Talley, the former 4-star defensive end who was the “heartbeat” of the 2022 recruiting class for Penn State Football entered the transfer portal Monday, August 15.
Talley enters the portal never having stepped foot on the field for the Nittany Lions. He was integral in the recruiting of other players that helped shape the 6th best recruiting class in the nation for the ‘22 cycle.
Standing at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, the Philadelphia native was ranked as the 273rd player according to the 247sports composite ratings and figured to be a key member of Manny Diaz’s defense moving forward.
However, Talley was seen as ‘the other pass rusher’ as five-star edge Dani Dennis-Sutton was the crown jewel of the class, and by all accounts has shined in fall camp to this point.
How losing Ken Talley impacts Penn State Football
You never want to see big time talent walk out the door.
Especially a player who seemed so excited to be heading to Happy Valley, but this is no time to panic for Penn State Football, as despite the loss of Talley, they are loaded going forward at defensive end.
The aforementioned Dani Dennis-Sutton, a former 5-star, could be the next great pass rusher for Penn State Football. Coach James Franklin said of the freshman last week that whether or not it’s Week 1 at Purdue or Week 4, he will make an impact as a Freshman.
Built like a senior at six-foot-five and 254 pounds Sutton looks the whole part of a big time edge rusher and if he was allowed to enroll early (his high school wouldn’t allow it) and got on campus in January, he might even be vying for a starting spot as early as week one at Purdue.
The two defensive ends that figure to start the season opener are Adisa Isaac and Chop Robinson, who transferred in from Maryland this winter.
Isaac is a redshirt junior but has been on campus since 2019 and after the season ending injury last season, Isaac will likely look to have a big season this fall and enter the NFL Draft next April.
Robinson is a former 5-star edge rusher and played sparingly with the Terps last season as a true freshman but shined with the limited opportunities he had racking up 12 tackles and two sacks.
The DMV product is only a sophomore and has at least this season and next in 2023, meaning Chop and Sutton have the opportunity to form a heck of a tandem for Manny Diaz.
Penn State Football EDGE rush sleepers
Two other names to know already on the roster are redshirt junior Smith Vilbert and sophomore Zuriah Fisher.
Fisher will miss this season due to an injury, but moved to defensive end from linebacker and was making strides at edge and figured to be in the rotation this season before the injury.
Vilbert is a raw talent who might just need the chances as after a ton of opt outs in the bowl game, he got his shot shot and recorded three sacks in the loss to Arkansas in the Outback Bowl.
He left a lot to be desired when you take a look at the film against the run and needs to continue to put weight on to hold his own in the trenches but could be a valuable asset as a rotational player this season and moving forward for the Lions.
The loss of Talley stings, but there is no reason to panic for the Nittany Lions.