Graphic courtesy of Penn State Athletics
Times Shamrock newspapers’ Penn State football beat writer Donnie Collins is breaking down every member of Penn State’s 2019 recruiting class who has signed their letter of intent. This is a look at defensive tackle Joseph Darkwa, who is ranked as the No. 67 defensive tackle prospect in the nation by ESPN.
School: Dusseldorf (Germany) Panthers
Projected position: Defensive tackle
Ranking: Three stars by Rivals.com, 247sports.com and ESPN
Other offers: Cincinnati, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Rutgers, UCLA
Enrolling: Summer semester
Strengths: Darkwa is the true definition of the word prospect. At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, he has the build you want to play anywhere along the defensive line. … He has long arms and looks leaner than his 260 pounds, which means he can put on some good weight and build himself into a more prototypical defensive lineman. … On film, he can dominate a game. He beats double teams frequently. He can stuff the run and get after quarterbacks, and on special teams, he is a force up the middle on punt coverage and field goal block teams.
The questions: He looks like a man amongst boys on film because, in most every way, he is one. He plays in Germany, where the competition isn’t anywhere near as good as it is in the states, and that makes it very difficult to determine if Darkwa has skills or if he just has more athleticism than anybody around him. … The jump in competition for him is going to be an immense hill to climb.
Projection: Darkwa is a total wild card. He can come in and be a dominant player, or he’ll never get on the field. It’s difficult to predict which way he’ll go, because it all depends on how he adjusts to that jump up in competition. But he’s got a terrific frame for the position Penn State is going to want him to play, and the program can probably get by with building him into the type of player he needs to be for a few years without needing him to actually get on the field and contribute. If he can, it will be a major plus for the Nittany Lions defense, but he’s a purely developmental prospect at this point.