Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry thought Lamont Wade started to gain a better grasp of his new position in the days leading up to the Blue-White Game.
Wade, who switched from cornerback to safety during the offseason, finished the spring with five tackles and a forced fumble for the White Team on Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Pry said he was pleased with the experience Wade got at safety, but he also said the staff will reevaluate the sophomore moving forward.
“We’ll look at it in the offseason and see: Is he going to be a corner? Is he going to be a safety?” Pry said after the Blue Team’s 21-10 win. “But it was really good to see him get the work at safety.”
With depth at cornerback, the Nittany Lions' coaches decided to move Wade to safety, where they need to replace starters in Marcus Allen and Troy Apke. Pry said Wade was just starting to get comfortable at cornerback when he made the switch. He spent the spring learning the new position and played safety against the first-team offense Saturday.
Pray called Wade “a very talented guy,” adding he’s “very explosive, very physical.”
And he showed his ability when he chased down KJ Hamler on a 43-yard catch and forced a fumble in the second quarter.
“He plays really fast, and he plays with a dog mentality,” Penn State running back Miles Sanders said. “I think if he keeps that, he can do anything.”
Wade was a five-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 1 cornerback in the country by Rivals in the Class of 2017. But as a freshman last season, Wade made his mark on special teams before making the switch to safety in the offseason.
“He’s definitely matured since he’s been here,” Penn State defensive tackle Kevin Givens said. “He’s handled switching to safety like I handled switching between tackle and end pretty well, so that just shows how mature he is."
The coaches will consider the best spot for Wade heading into the 2018 season.
Garrett Taylor and Nick Scott established themselves as the frontrunners at safety this spring and started for the Blue Team on Saturday. But Wade has the potential to provide depth at safety.
“He can hit,” cornerback Zech McPhearson said. “He fits that safety spot.”