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Shaka Toney announces he'll leave Penn State, leaving big hole on depleted defensive line

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
Penn State defensive end Shaka Toney (18) leaves the field following an NCAA college football game against Maryland in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Nov. 07, 2020. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

Penn State's defensive line will have a markedly different look in 2021.

That's become apparent over the past week.

First, just before Christmas, defensive tackle Antonio Shelton announced he will enter the NCAA transfer portal.

Then, just after Christmas, defensive end Jayson Oweh released a statement that he would enter the 2021 NFL draft.

Finally, on Monday, defensive end Shaka Toney also joined the list of departing Nittany Lions. In a social media post, the All-Big Ten performer said he also plans to leave Happy Valley and go pro.

Shelton, Oweh and Toney were three of PSU's four starters on the defensive line.

Toney's decision is not surprising. The redshirt senior could've returned to PSU, if he wanted, because the NCAA is offering a free year of eligibility to athletes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Toney, however, had relatively little left to prove on the college level after making 20 starts for the Lions and finishing his career with 19.5 sacks, good for 10th on the all-time PSU list.

"Growing up in Philadelphia, it was always a dream to play college football," Toney said in a social-media post announcing his decision. "It has been a dream come true to have been able to play at a prestigious university like Penn State.

"I'm excited for this next chapter and I will be forever blue and white."

Before the NFL draft, the 6-foot, 3-inch, 252-pound Toney plans to compete in the Senior Bowl next month in Mobile, Alabama.

With Toney's departure, the only starter expected to return on the defensive line is junior defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher. 

Additionally, backup defensive tackle Judge Culpepper has announced he will also enter the transfer portal.

PSU did pick up a graduate transfer defensive lineman on Tuesday, adding Derrick Tangelo from Duke. The 6-2, 310-pounder was a multi-year starter for the Blue Devils. He had 38 tackles and two sacks in 2020. Tangelo is from Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.