Penn State learns that first-team All-America safety will return for 2021 season

Rutgers wide receiver Bo Melton is upended by Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker (1) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Jaquan Brisker

Penn State head coach James Franklin received some good news on Monday.

A player named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Focus, safety Jaquan Brisker, will return to the Nittany Lions for the 2021 season.

Brisker’s return is a bit of a surprise. The Pittsburgh native had previously accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl. He had also been honored with the other seniors during the Nittany Lions’ Senior Day back in December.

PFF said that no Football Bowl Subdivision safety recorded a better grade while lining up in the box. PFF also determined that Brisker displayed the best tackling at the position, missing one of his 60 attempts. He recorded a Power Five-best 85.6 PFF grade.

Brisker was a third-team All-Big Ten pick by the coaches and an honorable-mention pick by the media.

He finished third on the team with 57 tackles and three tackles for loss. He led the team with six pass breakups and tied for the team lead with one interception. In 22 games over two seasons, Brisker has 89 tackles, four tackles for loss, 12 pass breakups and three interceptions. He did not start his first game until this season.

The 6-foot-1, 212-pound Brisker transferred to Penn State from Lackawanna Community College. He had been projected as a mid-round selection in the NFL draft.

Senior defensive back also Tariq Castro-Fields announced his return last week. Both players are allowed an extra year of playing time because an NCAA rule grants all athletes an additional year of eligibility because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Senior safety Lamont Wade hasn't announced his decision to enter the draft, leaving a possibility for the Nittany Lions to have even more secondary experience.

Reach Steve Heiser at