Standing at a hulking six foot five, and more than 310 pounds, Penn State’s Devon Still is more than an imposing presence on the football field.
The senior defensive tackle from Wilmington, De, has been the anchor of No.19 Penn State’s defense yet again this season.
Still (right) and fellow senior Jack Crawford (left) have been living in opponents backfields this season.
He’s No. 1 in the Big Ten in solo TFL (15.0) and is tied for third in the conference in overall TFL (16.5 for minus-75). Still has recorded 4.0 sacks to rank among the conference leaders and has made 53 tackles (28 solo), with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on the season.
His play hasn’t gone unnoticed, as he was recently named a finalist for both the Bednarik Award (given to the nation’s top defensive player) and the Nagurki Award (given to the top interior lineman).
Two weeks ago, Still was honored before kickoff for playing his final home game at Beaver Stadium. He walked out of the tunnel and was greeted by Bradley, who has coached him for four season as his defensive coordinator. It was a bittersweet moment, as Still had hoped he would be shaking the hand of Joe Paterno, his coach and mentor, as shown in his tweet below.
Can’t even shake my own head coach’s hand wen I run out into beaver stadium for the last time…yall dk how much this man has done
Still’s impact on the field has been evident by his outstanding statistics, but during a trying past few weeks, the senior co-captain has showed tremendous leadership among with his fellow captains, drawing praise from coach Tom Bradley.
“I’m going to remember him for his great leadership off the field with the players, the way he’s handled the team. The way he’s been taking those guys under his wing and making sure that everybody does the right thing, and what happens is, nobody gets to see that side of it, they just see him on the field,” said Bradley during his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
No. 71′s play is also drawing the eye of NFL scouts, who project Still as one of the top defensive tackle’s available. His stock could rise by making an appearance in the Senior Bowl after the season, a showcase for scouts and draft pundits.
But for now, the NFL can wait, as Still’s Nittany Lions have work left to do on their schedule. If the Lions can manage a road win at Camp Randle on Saturday over the Wisconsin Badgers, the Lions will earn a berth in the Big Ten Championship game against Michigan State. The winner will earn a berth in the Rose Bowl.
Still and Co.’s job this week after stuffing Boom Herron and Ohio State this week is Montee Ball of Wisconsin, who leads the Big Ten in rushing with 1,466 yards and a whopping 25 touchdowns. The Badger offense leads the Big Ten in total yards at at close to 480 yards per game. They’ll also have to slow down dual-threat quarterback Russell Wilson, who has thrown for 26 touchdowns and ran for another five.
The nation has become aware of big No.71, so has Badgers coach Bret Bielema.
“Wherever he’s at, and whatever the blocking scheme is, I think you’ve got to be cognizant of how you’re blocking him, and what you’re doing,” Bielema told reporters on Monday.
“He’s a big guy that can move extremely well. He’s got a very quick first step. I always admire that in defensive linemen, how fast they can penetrate the line of scrimmage.”
Still’s Nittany Lions visit the Badgers this Saturday at 3:30 on ABC in what is the de facto Leaders division Championship game with a berth to Indianapolis and the Big Ten title game on the line.