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  With Parsons opting out of the season to focus on training for the 2021 NFL Draft, Smith's path to the starting role at Parsons' old strongside linebacker position cleared. The Nittany Lions won't be able to rely on Parsons' freakish athleticism anymore, but it doesn't mean they won't have a blue-chipper to replace him. That, coach James Franklin maintains, is why he's not worried about the state of a linebacking corps that lost all three starters. "We think we're in a good place," Franklin said. "You never want to lose players, but we feel like that's a position of strength."

Penn State will likely surround Smith with veteran Jesse Luketa on the weak side and productive Ellis Brooks in the middle. But the Nittany Lions also have two other five-star recruits, redshirt freshman Lance Dixon and incoming prospect Curtis Jacobs, ready to go. Not to mention, highly regarded youngsters Zuriah Fisher, Charlie Katshir and Tyler Elsdon. But with a 6-foot-3, 244-pounder in Smith, Penn State hopes it can at least minimize the effect of losing Parsons. "The sky's the limit with him," Brooks said. "It's just a matter of focusing on the details. Once he accomplishes that, his game is just going to keep going to another level." - Tribune Review


(DS#6 OLB) Jr/2022 OLB *Brandon SmithPenn State
News Source: Tribune Review


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