How Lamont Wade’s Switch To Safety Affects Penn State’s Secondary
Lamont Wade wasted little time making an impact on Penn State’s defensive backfield as a true freshman in 2017.
The Clairton, PA, native will now move from cornerback to safety ahead of his second spring practice in State College. Wade’s position switch was first noted on the program’s newest roster update last Friday.
With redshirt junior corner John Reid now recovered from a season-ending knee injury, he’s expected to resume his starting role in spring ball. Wade’s classmate, Tariq Castro-Fields, also saw solid playing time his first year on campus.
Castro-Fields’ outstanding athleticism was evident upon his arrival last summer, as he quickly climbed the depth chart and eventually earned the backup job to Christian Campbell at boundary corner.
He’ll compete with graduate senior Amani Oruwariye, who last year led the team in interceptions with five, for the open starting spot opposite Reid.
The 5-foot-9 Wade loves to lower the boom across the middle, earning a reputation as one of Pennsylvania’s hardest hitters at Clairton High. He now joins a wide-open race for the two starting safety jobs vacated by future pros Marcus Allen and Troy Apke.
Veterans like Nick Scott, Ayron Monroe, Garrett Taylor, and John Petrishen will try to hold off Wade and fellow youngsters, redshirt freshman Jonathan Sutherland and early enrollee Isaiah Humphries, for reps.
Humphries’ father, Leonard, played defensive back for the Nittany Lions from 1989-91, hauling in eight interceptions before heading to the Indianapolis Colts for a year. He also bounced around the CFL over the course of three different seasons.
The younger Humphries racked up 20 scholarship offers at Sachse High School in Texas, according to 247Sports, but eventually decided to attend his dad’s alma mater on New Year’s Eve 2017 — just before the Nittany Lions took on USC in the Rose Bowl.
Humphries was shown a great deal of respect when he was allowed to pick No. 2, inheriting the jersey from Allen and a host of other Penn State greats. Fellow spring enrollee Micah Parsons will wear arguably the most iconic number “Linebacker U” has to offer, LaVar Arrington’s No. 11, while Jesse Luketa got Dan Connor and Jason Cabinda’s No. 40.
By moving Wade to safety, Penn State is not only addressing an important need in its secondary, but also ensuring it can get its best four to five defensive backs on the field as often as possible next fall.
Despite losing Campbell and Grant Haley to graduation, the Nittany Lions are in excellent shape to continue their success as the Big Ten’s second-best scoring defense in 2017, allowing just 16.5 points per game.
While Reid is a near lock to start again, the other three jobs in the secondary are essentially up for grabs this spring. The Blue-White game on April 21 will offer a glimpse at the development of Penn State’s young reserves like Zech McPhearson, Donovan Johnson, DJ Brown, and true freshman Trent Gordon, too.