What Penn State Found in the NCAA Transfer Portal: Experience

Penn State got older, and more experienced, by adding four veteran players from the portal.
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Penn State's four transfer players enrolled in January, quickly beginning winter workouts with their new team. They were part of a 14-player group of early enrollees that included seven members of the 2021 recruiting class.

Johnny Dixon, Arnold Ebiketie, John Lovett and Derrick Tangelo bring a common trait to Penn State: experience. All were starters at their previous schools and have played for multiple seasons. That's vital for a program coach James Franklin described as young in 2020.

Here's a look at the four transfer players.

Johnny Dixon

Year: Sophomore

Position: Defensive back

Height/weight: 6-0, 183

Previous school: South Carolina

Bio: Dixon played in 10 games, starting eight, at cornerback last season. He made 34 tackles, broke up five passes and recovered a fumble. Dixon also played in 12 games as a freshman. That year he was named to the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll. Dixon was a four-year starter at Chamberlain High in Tampa, Fla., though he missed much of his junior season because of a knee injury. 247Sports ranked him as the No. 51 player in Florida as a senior.

Arnold Ebiketie

Year: Redshirt junior

Position: Defensive end

Height/weight: 6-3, 238

Previous school: Temple

Bio: Ebiketie was named second-team All-American Athletic Conference in 2020 after recording 8.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and three fumbles. Ebiketie made a career-high 10 tackles in the season-opener against Navy and returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown against South Florida. Ebiketie tied for first in the AAC in forced fumbles per game (.5). He played in 12 games in 2019, making two sacks and two quarterback hurries.

Ebiketie had a huge senior season at Albert Einstein High in Kensington, Md. He made 21.5 sacks and 36 tackles for loss at linebacker while also recording 298 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver.

John Lovett

Year: Senior

Position: Running back

Height/weight: 6-0, 205

Previous school: Baylor

Bio: Lovett ranks 16th on Baylor's career-rushing list (1,803 yards) and 11th in yards per attempt (5.07). He has made 20 career starts, including five in a 2020 season impacted by an injury. Lovett's most productive season was 2019, when he rushed for 655 yards (6.4 per carry) and scored five touchdowns. Lovett started games for Baylor each of the past four years.

Originally from New Jersey, Lovett was the state's top-ranked athlete prospect, according to the former Scout.com. He ran for 1,371 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior at Cherokee High.

Derrick Tangelo

Year: Senior

Position: Defensive tackle

Height/weight: 6-2, 298

Previous school: Duke

Bio: Tangelo is the most experienced of the transfers, having played in 45 games (with 28 starts) since his freshman season in 2017. Tangelo brings 114 tackles (12 for loss), 4.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and two recoveries to Penn State. He started 11 games at tackle for Duke in 2020 and recorded a team-high three forced fumbles. His 40-tackle season included two sacks.

Tangelo graduated from Maryland's The Bullis School, where 2021 Penn State quarterback recruit Christian Veilleux also played. He made 50 tackles and eight sacks as a senior.

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