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Post-Rose Bowl NFL Draft Decisions Loom For Curtis Jacobs, Adisa Isaac

Just one player has opted out of Penn State football’s upcoming Rose Bowl showdown with Utah.

Joey Porter Jr. is on his way to the NFL Draft and decided to not play in the Nittany Lions’ final game of the season. The rest of the team, save for an injured Parker Washington, will look just about the same as it did down the home stretch.

Some draft decisions have been made already. The likes of Brenton Strange, Juice Scruggs, and Nick Tarburton will all play in Pasadena before pursuing post-Penn State lives. But, other decisions still loom.

Most notably, Adisa Isaac and Curtis Jacobs, who are eligible to declare for the draft, are yet to make decisions. The duo met with the media in downtown Los Angeles Friday ahead of their showdown with the Utes.

“I wanted to make sure I had the season out of the way so all the football was played all the film was already put on tape. Just make sure I talked to everyone possible,” Jacobs said. “I know most people try to get it out there…I just wanted to take my time to make sure I’m making the right decision.”

Jacobs logged 47 tackles this season — good for third-most on the team. His best effort of the season came against Minnesota when he made seven solo stops. The linebacker’s pick-six against Michigan rounded out what turned out to be a productive campaign, despite missing the Maryland game.

The linebacker hasn’t shown up in any projections on the NFL Mock Draft Database. Should the All-Big Ten honorable mention forgo his junior season, he might be a long shot to play on Sundays from the get-go.

Statistically, Jacobs took a step back this year, recording fewer tackles, sacks, and tackles-for-loss. But, it’s likely that this was a product of a new defensive scheme under Manny Diaz. The new defensive coordinator focused on swapping in players and keeping starters fresh. He even quipped Friday in Los Angeles that the team’s philosophy is to give its defenders fewer snaps in total.

No matter what decision Jacobs makes, he said he knew he was playing in the bowl game regardless.

“I would be doing the same thing if we were in the same boat we were in last year,” the linebacker said. “I’m a little more slow with these things because I feel like it can really affect my life and my family’s life.”

A big Rose Bowl game could help Jacobs raise his draft stock. In last year’s Outback Bowl, he led the team with 10 total tackles and added a sack and tackle-for-loss.

Isaac is another player whose bowl game performance could affect his decision. He too is waiting until after the game to announce whether he’s coming back for another season or heading off for the big leagues.

The defensive end, a freakish 6’4″, 248-pound prospect, had an impressive bounce-back season after missing the 2021 campaign with an injury. He logged nine tackles-for-loss and four sacks, which were more than his 2019 and 2020 seasons combined.

“It’s a lot of information,” Isaac said of his draft decision. “Not just what’s best for me right now and how do I feel right now. You know, try to look at the bigger picture…There’s just so much to juggle but, ultimately, you have to make a decision. So just trying to make the best one for myself for the future.”

Before the season started, Isaac was projected by some analysts as a first-round draft pick, but his overall draft outlook remains unclear. Someone donning Philadelphia Eagles gear was closely watching the defensive portion of Penn State’s practice Friday.

The 2022 campaign has been the only true season of play for Isaac. He played just six and eight games in 2019 and 2020, respectively, before missing the 2021 season. He started all 12 games this year and earned All-Big Ten third-team honors from the coaches in return.

Although the defensive end’s raw athletic prowess could likely land him on an NFL team in this draft cycle, another year of development and full-game participation could do wonders for his stock.

“That’s a big, big pro…That extra development, just actual experience — that doesn’t hurt nobody,” Isaac said. “Experience is a great thing.”

Like Jacobs, Isaac also opted to push his draft decision until after the bowl game.

The timing of players announcing the decision is intriguing. Some get ahead of things and declare for the draft far ahead of the bowl game, even if they’re going to play. Others, like Jesse Luketa, announce they’re leaving right after the bowl game ends.

Isaac isn’t a stranger to the weight of his decision and is pushing it off until the picture gets a little clearer.

“For some people, that picture is much clearer. For others, it’s a little foggy,” he said. “This is a long-term decision…some guys don’t want to jump right into a decision and then regret it later on.”

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected].

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