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Penn State Football’s Brandon Smith Declares For 2022 NFL Draft

Former Penn State football linebacker Brandon Smith’s career in Happy Valley has officially come to a close.

The junior defender announced Friday night he’ll opt out of the Outback Bowl and begin preparations for the NFL Draft.

“To coach Franklin and my coaches, thank you all for taking a chance on someone from Louisa, a small town in Virginia where almost nobody gets out and is given the opportunity to do what I have been able to do at Penn State,” Smith wrote. “With that being said, I am going to forgo my senior year and the bowl game and enter the 2022 NFL Draft.”

Smith just wrapped up a third year in Happy Valley in which he totaled 81 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. The Virginia native finished second on the team — behind just Ellis Brooks — in tackles this season, and had 10-tackle performances against Michigan and Auburn. It might be a little early for mock draft season, but DraftWire had the 241-pound defender headed to the Broncos as second-round pick in a projection earlier this week.

The linebacker garnered plenty of attention early on in his Nittany Lion career. He highlighted Penn State’s Class of 2019 as the only five-star prospect, and immediately made his presence felt by making 13 total tackles as a freshman. Smith showcased his athleticism and hitting ability in his first-career game against Idaho.

Smith now leaves Penn State with 131 career tackles and four sacks, along with an interception during his sophomore season in 2020. He’s the first Nittany Lion to publicly announce his decision to opt out of the bowl game and prepare for the draft.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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