Penn State's Arnold Ebiketie, who became an All-Big Ten defensive end after transferring from Temple, will skip the Outback Bowl to begin preparing for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Ebiketie announced his decision on social media. He became the fifth Penn State player, and fourth defensive starter, to opt out of the bowl game.
Penn State found a transfer-portal gem in Ebiketie, a first-team all-conference selection who led the Big Ten with 18 tackles for loss. He led the Lions with 9.5 sacks and seven quarterback hurries and also blocked two kicks.
Ebiketie, an all-AAC selection for Temple in 2020, made impact plays in several Penn State victories. He made two tackles for loss and a sack and blocked a field goal in the Lions' 16-10 victory over Wisconsin. He also blocked a field goal and had a sack to preserve the team's shutout against Indiana.
Ebiketie made at least one tackle for loss in eight consecutive games. He earned All-America honors from The Athletic and the Football Writers Association of American (second team) and Pro Football Focus (honorable mention).
NFL Draft Bible ranks Ebiketie as the No. 8 edge rusher in the 2022 draft class. The analysts cited his explosiveness, versatility and "strong hands" in projecting him as a third-round pick and potentially an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system.
"Ebiketie is an explosive edge defender who provides power and length," according to NFL Draft Bible. "As a pass rusher, he converts speed to power well both to the inside and outside shoulders of the opposing offensive tackle. He struggles, though, with bend because of stiff ankles that don’t allow him to drop his hips and get a lower center of gravity.
"He shows flashes as a run defender because of his strength to effectively set the edge or shoot gaps, but his lack of a strong base hinders his efforts at putting an anchor down against physical run blockers."