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Penn State Football: Tariq Castro-Fields Set For Return

by on January 01, 2020 8:19 PM

Penn State football will have at least one of its starting cornerbacks return to its 2020 roster.

Rising senior Tariq Castro-Fields announced that he intends on returning to Happy Valley for his final season of NCAA eligibility on Wednesday evening.

“These past three years have been the best time of my life,” Castro-Fields said in a statement released on Twitter. “We have unfinished business to take care of, and our unique brotherhood is something I’m not ready to relinquish. Additionally, earning a degree from Penn State is extremely important to my family and I.”

Castro-Fields was the 21st and final player to join the Nittany Lions’ recruiting class of 2017. His recruitment came down to the 11th hour, and he’s developed into a solid starting option at cornerback for James Franklin’s program. The defensive back from Upper Marlboro, Maryland has made 94 tackles, deflected 18 passes, and intercepted three others in three seasons with the team.

Penn State’s defensive No. 5 is a very strong tackler in the open field, which has led to some bone-jarring hits that have blown up screen passes and other short routes. Castro-Fields picked off a pair of passes in 2019 — one in his home state against Maryland, and another during the 2019 White Out against Michigan.

At the very least, Castro-Fields’ upcoming return to Happy Valley will bring experience back to a secondary that got gashed at times throughout 2019. Penn State allowed its opponents to gain 251.5 yards per game through the air, which ranked No. 99 in the nation. Opposing signal-callers like Tanner Morgan (Minnesota), Brady White (Memphis), and even Kenny Pickett (Pitt) put up at least 325 passing yards against the Nittany Lions this year.

Right now, Castro-Fields is projected to be the leader of a group of cornerbacks that’ll also return State College native Keaton Ellis and Marquis Wilson — a pair of true freshmen who got tons of snaps in key situations and, therefore, meaningful experience.

In addition to the cornerback, tight end Pat Freiermuth and offensive linemen Michal Menet and Will Fries are among the Nittany Lions who plan on returning to the team next season. Star wideout KJ Hamler and defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos are the team’s only meaningful early departures to the NFL Draft so far this offseason.

 



Mikey Mandarino is a staff writer for Onward State.
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