STATE COLLEGE — Penn State will be without a key member of its defense next year as junior defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos announced on Twitter on Tuesday evening he will declare for the NFL draft at the end of the season.
Gross-Matos said he will play in Penn State’s upcoming bowl game.
“After careful consideration, countless discussion with my coaches, family and other advisors I have decided to forgo my final year of eligibility and declare for the 2020 NFL Draft,” Gross-Matos’ tweet read. “Even though I am leaving, I have promised my family and Coach (James) Franklin that I will continue to pursue my Penn State degree.”
Gross-Matos has not only been one of Penn State’s most talented defenders, but he’s established himself among the country’s elite edge rushers. Gross-Matos leads Penn State with 8.5 sacks and ranks 23rd nationally in the category.
Gross-Matos posted a season-best nine tackles along with two sacks in the Nittany Lions’ 28-17 loss at Ohio State. He also tallied double-digit sack outings against Idaho (2.5) and Purdue (two).
“Yetur has grown so much as a football player, leader and young man during his time at Penn State,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said. “He has been a shining example of resiliency for his teammates and our staff for the way he has handled adversity in his life.”
Gross-Matos, a two-time All-Big Ten honoree, has accumulated 110 tackles and 18 sacks during his Penn State career.
The combination of Gross-Matos and fellow defensive end Shaka Toney frequently disrupted opposing offensive lines this year. Penn State’s defense has accumulated 39 sacks this season, which is good enough to rank 10th in the FBS.
As a sophomore last year, Gross-Matos posted 54 tackles, eight sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Penn State led the Big Ten in sacks last season with 47.
“We couldn’t be more proud of him and appreciate everything he has done for our program,” Franklin said. “We wish him nothing but the best in the NFL!”
Elton Hayes covers Penn State for The Meadville Tribune and other Pennsylvania newspapers owned by CNHI. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EHDC12.