Jaquan Brisker’s Versatility & Leadership Highlight Potential NFL Skill Set
Back in 2019, Jaquan Brisker arrived in Happy Valley as a junior transferring from Lackawanna College trying to help improve a Penn State team aiming to return to the national spotlight. Following years of work, Brisker exceeded expectations and served as a team leader during his three-year stint as a Nittany Lion.
Hailing from Monroeville, Pennsylvania, the 6’1″ athlete was the No. 1 safety prospect from the junior college Class of 2019. Brisker totaled 119 tackles and four interceptions in his two seasons with Lackawanna College. As a result, many schools were impressed with his playmaking ability and his ball-hawking skills. Brisker received offers from Alabama, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, and Maryland before enrolling at Penn State.
When he arrived, Brisker was initially a backup behind Lamont Wade and Garrett Taylor. While he had a limited role, he still appeared in all 13 games that season. Brisker totaled 31 tackles in 2019 and was tied for the most interceptions on the team (two).
With impressive games against Iowa, Michigan State, and Memphis, Brisker showed many that he was on his way to becoming one of the best safeties in the country. After the 2019 season, Brisker moved into a starting role with Taylor leaving, hoping to show everyone how good he really was.
However, the following season brought many complications for Penn State football, as the season nearly didn’t happen due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. When the season finally began in October, Penn State was without its star defensive player in Micah Parsons, who opted out of the season. The defense was without a leader, and Brisker stepped up into that role.
While the team struggled to start the season by losing their first five games, things began to turn around after its loss to No. 16 Iowa. Brisker was one of the bright spots in the 41-21 loss, totaling eight tackles and a pass deflection. After that game, the Nittany Lions couldn’t be stopped and won their final four games of the season. Brisker totaled 25 tackles, two pass deflections, and grabbed his only interception of the season during that final stretch.
In a shortened 2020 season, Brisker finished third in tackles for Penn State with 57 and led the team with five pass deflections and one interception. He earned third-team All-Big Ten honors for it, too. After the breakout season, Brisker elected to return to college and used his extra year of eligibility to round out some unfinished business.
All offseason long, Brisker improved his leadership qualities and made improvements to become one of the most versatile players in Penn State’s locker room. It didn’t take long into the season for Brisker to show he was ready, as he had one of his best games as a Nittany Lion in the season opener at No. 12 Wisconsin.
While battling injuries all game long, Brisker was able to snag the game-sealing interception to knock off the Badgers on the road.
Two weeks later, Brisker would knock down a pass from Bo Nix to seal a White Out win over Auburn. Brisker continued to battle injuries all season, but that that didn’t stop him from dominating when he was on the field. He tied a career-high nine tackles and grabbed an interception in a loss to Iowa three weeks later. Brisker even totaled eight tackles and grabbed his first fumble recovery in the infamous nine-overtime loss to the Fighting Illini.
Brisker totaled 63 tackles on the season while also grabbing two interceptions, one fumble recovery, and five pass deflections. These numbers helped Brisker earn first-team All-Big Ten and second-team All-American honors from the Associated Press.
While the 2021 season wasn’t an overwhelmingly successful one for the team, Brisker put his heart and soul in every snap he played while at Penn State. Brisker was more than a player for the Nittany Lions, as he was also a role model of what it took to be a leader or a team.
Leadership and versatility skills are some of the biggest strengths of the 22-year-old star. Brisker has the ability to cover any receiver and rush the quarterback at the next level. He has also been called one of the toughest players in the class, and his ability to play through injuries has certainly opened some eyes.
According to NFL.com, Brisker has been compared to Kansas City Chiefs safety Justin Reid. His athleticism has endeared him to coaches during the evaluation process, and his numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine and Penn State’s Pro Day have helped elevate his status as a prospect.
Brisker has been called by many experts the second-best safety in the draft. He’s slated to go anywhere from the late first round to the early second. Either way, whichever team selects Brisker can expect to find a proven defensive talent who’ll upgrade any locker room.
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About the Author
Michael Botte decided to combine his refound passion for music and his love for Penn State football in a new country rock release.
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