Lions Smell More Success at D-Tackle

North Carolina three-star Colon is the second DT to commit to Penn State in three days.

Defensive tackle is not just A position of need for Penn State for its Class of 2016, it is THE position of need. And after a slow start in that area this year, things are beginning to fall into place for James Franklin's program.

Thursday, North Carolina three-star Christian Colon committed to the Nittany Lions. He is the 13th member of State's Class of 2016 and the second defensive tackle to come on board in three days, joining New Jersey three-star Michael Dwumfour (who committed Tuesday).

Why is this such a big deal?

Well, prior to this week, PSU had zero defensive tackles committed for the Class of 2016. And the Lions only landed one DT in their Class of 2015 (Wisconsin native Robert Windsor, who will enroll next week).

Barring position changes, there will be six scholarship defensive tackles on Penn State's roster in 2015. That includes, of course, All-Big Ten pick Anthony Zettel and massive Austin Johnson -- who may well be the best one-two DT tandem in the nation. One of the top backups is Tarow Barney.

Zettel and Barney are both seniors. And with a strong junior season, there is a chance the NFL-ready Johnson will bypass his final year of eligibility to become a pro.

Outside of the untested Windsor, the only other scholarship defensive tackles in the program are redshirt sophomore Parker Cothren and redshirt freshman Antoine White. Both are high on potential. But they can't do it all by themselves, even with an assist from Windsor.

Colon is a 6-foot-3, 303-pounder who holds more than 20 offers. He picked the Lions over a final six that also included North Carolina, Pitt, Maryland, Syracuse and UCLA.

Other programs of note to offer include Notre Dame, South Carolina, Miami and Mississippi.

Colon hails from Independence High in Charlotte. As a junior, he had 117 tackles, nine sacks, four fumble recoveries and six pass deflections.

Scout.com's Michael Clark, who covers recruiting in North Carolina, had the following to say about Colon:

“Colon is a force on the defensive front. He has good size and is very strong. Colon gets off the ball well and can take on two defenders at once. He plays with good intensity and effort. Colon also has good instincts and takes good angles to the football. He must continue to improve his hand quickness and technique, but he will likely contribute early in his college career and ultimately become an anchor on the defensive line.”

Clark says Colon is the kind of big-bodied defensive tackle who can contribute early at Penn State.

Dwumfour is a 6-1, 285-pounder who did not earn a PSU offer until he reportedly blew away the coaching staff with a strong performance at camp Sunday. He said he ran a 4.89-second 40-yard dash and 4.37-second shuttle.

Scout.com's Brian Dohn said Dwumfour has packed on 30 pounds in the last two years and became one of the fastest rising prospects in the East during the spring after programs had a chance to get a better look at him. Quickness is his strong suit, but he also has a very solid base and operates with a low pad level.

Penn State figures to take at least three defensive tackles in the Class of 2015, and that could be as many as five if the quality is right. Names to keep an eye on include Karamo Dioubate (a DE/DT), Ellison Jordan and Rashad Wheeler.

Also, it will be interesting to see if the Nittany Lions can work their way in with New Jersey standout Rashan Gary, the nation's No. 1 overall prospect. Gary is a former high school teammate of Dwumfour and the two still workout together in the off-season.


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