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Once a Rugby Player in South Africa, Now a Defensive Lineman at Penn State

Jordan van den Berg has taken an epic ride from South Africa to Georgia to Iowa to Penn State.

Jordan van den Berg, a junior college defensive lineman who originally is from South Africa, committed to Penn State on Tuesday as a transfer student. Van den Berg, who will be eligible to join Penn State for the 2021 season, announced his decision on social media.

Van den Berg recently completed his freshman season at Iowa Western Community College, where he made 20 tackles and a sack in six games during the team's spring season. He has a fascinating story, one that began in South Africa, where van den Berg initially played rugby.

Van den Berg moved to the U.S. when he was 10 and began playing American football. He told Hawkeye Nation that football was "love at first try," a sport he began playing as a sophomore at Providence Christian Academy in Georgia. Van den Berg became an all-state linebacker as a senior in 2019, making 157 tackles that season.

Iowa Western offered van den Berg an opportunity, and he made a quick impact. Van den Berg (listed at 6-3, 285 pounds) made a team-high nine tackles in the Rievers' 37-14 victory over Iowa Central Community College for the in-state trophy known as "The Cup."

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Van den Berg recently had received an offer from Iowa, according to Hawkeye Nation.

Penn State coach James Franklin said after the 2020 season that he would look for defensive linemen, either through recruiting or transfers. The Lions signed two transfer linemen this year: end Arnold Ebiketie from Temple and tackle Derrick Tangelo from Duke.

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