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  Penn State's defense has undergone a shift for the first time in eight seasons after former defensive coordinator Brent Pry left for Virginia Tech. New coordinator Manny Diaz has implemented his own scheme - one that has led players and coaches to laud its aggressiveness. One player in particular has taken advantage of that aggression while making a change of his own. Redshirt freshman Zakee Wheatley moved from cornerback to safety and in the process has earned himself the title of turnover king thus far through spring practice. Wheatley has five interceptions, according to senior safety Ji'Ayir Brown, and is one of the players who has stood out the most alongside him. "Right now, our takeaway king, Zakee Wheatley, he's been doing an unbelievable job with the transfer from corner to safety," Brown said. "He's made plays that veteran guys struggle to make. He's standing out the most to me right now." Wheatley is one of multiple players positioned to fight for the starting safety spot alongside Brown.

He, Keaton Ellis and Jaylen Reed are all looking to make their mark and replace Jaquan Brisker, who ran out of eligibility and is expected to go in the first three rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft. While Wheatley has the least experience at safety, Brown said his instincts have put him in a position to succeed despite the position switch this offseason. "His instincts, I like to say he reminds me a lot of myself," he said. "Very instinctive player. The most important piece, he plays with passion. He goes out there and he plays hard and he lets his instincts just flow. And I think that causes him to run into a lot of plays and make a lot of plays for us. That's why he's been great so far." - Centre Times


rFr/2026 FS Zakee WheatleyPenn State
News Source: Centre Times



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