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Lamont Wade Plays Key Role In Helping Penn State’s Defense Stifle Purdue

Penn State football’s defensive line will understandably — and deservedly — get most of the praise following Saturday’s 35-7 victory over Purdue. However, junior safety Lamont Wade also had himself a game in Penn State’s first Big Ten home match-up of the season.

Wade led the Nittany Lions with 11 tackles — one of which was a sack on a well-timed and well-executed safety blitz. He also broke up a pass and was just generally involved in almost every play the Boilermakers ran.

Beyond his excellent performance Saturday, Wade has grown into one of the Penn State defense’s most vocal leaders. “Unrivaled: The Penn State Football Story” has documented Wade giving multiple pump-up speeches to his teammates before and during games, and he’s starting to play like the leader he is.

“Lamont’s played a lot of good games this year. I think as a starter, he’s getting better and better each game,” sophomore linebacker Micah Parsons said. “He’s just going to keep progressing. He’s been very vocal, and he’s worked hard for [his role].”

Wade had yet to record more than four tackles in a single game prior to Saturday afternoon, but he got plenty of opportunities to showcase his skill in terms of taking guys down. The junior safety said he felt like he improved from last week to this week and that, overall, his game is trending in the right direction.

The former five-star recruit entered this season as one of the most experienced defenders on Penn State’s roster, but he also explored a transfer away from the university this offseason. After making the decision to stay, Wade ended up beating out Jonathan Sutherland for the starting safety role alongside Garrett Taylor.

He had 20 games of experience — 11 in 2017, and nine last season — under his belt. That prior experience pushed him to grow and take on a more vocal, tangible role when it comes to leadership.

“I played early, but it wasn’t ideal. Just knowing how that process works and knowing what it takes to do this college football thing gives me awesome perspective to let other guys know or help lead whenever I can,” Wade said. “I feel like I would be obligated to lead whether I was on top [of the depth chart] or [the third- or fourth-string guy] just because of my experience and perspective I’ve gained through the years.”

Although his first four performances may not have been up to the standard Wade played to against Purdue, the safety didn’t change much as far as his preparation for this weekend was concerned.

Maryland’s offense featured a pair of dynamic running backs and focused more on trying to establish a good ground game. This week, Purdue’s pass-happy tendency had a tangible impact on the way Wade played.

“It kind of varies from the scheme we have going on and the scheme the offense is going on,” Wade said. “They’re a passing team that put the ball in the air a little bit more, and that allowed me to play a little bit more freely and how I wanted to play.”

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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