Penn State defensive line takes another hit when Jayson Oweh announces plans to go pro

The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)
Penn State's Jayson Oweh (28) sacks Kent State quarterback Woody Barrett (15) during the second half on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. Penn State won 63-10.

Penn State's Jayson Oweh, an All-Big Ten defensive end who is considered a potential first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft by some observers, announced Saturday he has declared for the draft, giving up his final two years of collegiate eligibility.

"It has been an honor to be part of the Penn State family and don the Blue & White," Oweh said in a statement. "I take pride in being part of such an amazing school and I will always represent Penn State to the best of my abilities. The Penn State tradition has so much motivation, pushing any player and above their own years of experience. It is that culture which makes me the man I am today. I am thankful.

"After careful and precise consideration with my family and those closest to me, I have officially decided to declare for the NFL Draft."

The 6-foot-5, 252-pound Oweh, who played organized varsity football for the first time as a junior at Blair Academy (New Jersey), finished his redshirt sophomore year at Penn State this season with 38 tackles (fourth on the team) and 6 1/2 tackles for loss (third). He started seven games and missed the last two with an undisclosed injury.

The Howell, New Jersey, native was voted first-team All-Big Ten in a vote of coaches, and was named second team in the media balloting.

Oweh, who ran a 4.33-second time in the 40-yard dash in the summer of 2019, is rated the nation's No. 75 prospect by but is considered a quick and athletic edge rusher who could fit into an NFL team's plans.

"Jayson has grown so much as a football player, student, leader and man since he set foot on campus in 2018," Penn State head coach James Franklin said. "His growth and development demonstrate the level of his character and buy-in to our program's core values. On the field, his hard work and dedication led him to a first-team All-Big Ten selection this season. We couldn't be more proud of Jayson."

Shelton, Culpepper in transfer portal: Also last week, two Penn State defensive tackles, Antonio Shelton and Judge Culpepper, said they would enter the NCAA transfer portal.

Shelton redshirted his first season at Penn State, then started 20 games the next four years. In 2020, he had 14 tackles, including 4 1/2 for loss, and 3 1/2 sacks, and was named honorable mention All-Big Ten by both the coaches and the media.

Culpepper played in all nine games for Penn State this season but saw limited action, posting five tackles and one-half sack.