STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Ellison Jordan is recovering from a broken kneecap, according to NBC Sports Washington, which tweeted a photo of Jordan at the Wizards game Saturday night while in a wheel chair.
The report makes sense given that upon walking into the Nittany Lions' celebratory locker room following their Fiesta Bowl victory there was a No. 42 jersey -- Jordan's number -- hanging from the ceiling where players walked to and from the field. Jordan, a native of Marlboro, Maryland, wasn't expected to have a huge role in the Fiesta Bowl game thus making his availability a non factor, but with a team that loses both starters Parker Cothren and Curtis Cothran to graduation -- plus top backup Tyrell Chavis -- Jordan's availability moving forward will be important for a team that will need help at defensive tackle next season.
[caption id="attachment_525657" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Ellison Jordan's jersey in the locker room after the Fiesta Bowl. - AUDREY SNYDER / DKPS[/caption]
Jordan last played in Penn State's win against Maryland, thus meaning his injury likely occurred in the lead up to the bowl game.
It's no secret that defensive tackle will be an area of need that Penn State already was going to need to address this spring. Given what certainly looks like a recovery that's underway for Jordan -- plus the fact he recovered from an ACL tear after arriving in college -- and the depth in the trenches will be questioned this spring.
"We’re gonna have some challenges next year. I think d-tackle is going to be a challenge for us," James Franklin said in the lead up to the Fiesta Bowl. "I think linebacker is going to be a challenge for us. I think offensively we’ve played enough guys that I feel better about that. Defensively, that’s going to be a challenge."