- Josh Moyer, ESPN Staff Writer
Every weekday until signing day, NittanyNation will break down a commitment from Penn State’s 2013 recruiting class.
Vitals: Defensive end Garrett Sickels, Little Silver, N.J./Red Bank Regional, 6-foot-4, 225 pounds.
Committed: March 4, 2012.
ESPN.com grade: 80. Four-star prospect.
ESPN.com rankings: No. 34 at position, No. 56 in region, No. 14 in state.
Picked Penn State over: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and others.
State of the position: Deion Barnes has already earned a reputation as the team's top pass rusher, and there's some other quality players with rising redshirt sophomore Anthony Zettel and rising redshirt junior C.J. Olaniyan. Brad Bars will also likely see some situational playing time. Sure, Sean Stanley graduates, but Penn State's still in good shape here.
Pros: "He has solid overall size and possesses a nice frame to grow into and add good needed additional bulk. ... He has a solid get-off. He displays good strength and toughness to be able to take on blockers and defend the run, and when he brings his hands he can get extension and separate. ... He gives good effort and uses good angles in pursuit." -- ESPN scouting report
Cons: "He needs to watch his pad level and be more consistent at shooting his hands. As a tackler he can deliver a pop, but can improve to become a sharper tackler as he can attack high or not bring his feet and drag down. ... As a pass rusher, he is more of an effort guy at this stage who will charge upfield hard and can constrict the pocket some, but he needs to use his weapons better to help him disengage and clear from blockers." -- ESPN scouting report
Similar to/potential role: His playing style is different from Barnes, but he's exactly the same size Barnes was when he came into Penn State. (Both were listed at 6-4, 225.) Like Barnes, he's also a highly-touted recruit and will likely redshirt since there's decent depth. Sickels is better at stopping the run, so he and Barnes could end up becoming great complementing players.
Expected impact: 2015. Sickels has the ability to see situational playing time already, but he likely won't make a considerable impact until 2015 with three good defensive ends currently ahead of him. By 2015, if he doesn't earn a starting job, he should at least be in line to be the top backup. By then, Olaniyan will be gone with Barnes and Zettel as seniors. And, at this point, it wouldn't be a big surprise to see Barnes declare early for the NFL draft -- which would give Sickels an even bigger opportunity.