Although Penn State loses one starting defensive tackle in Kevin Givens, the Nittany Lions return redshirt senior Robert Windsor who combines size, quick feet, and a nonstop motor to bring versatility to the interior of the defensive line.
It’s time for our annual preseason top 10! Each summer, the staff votes on its top 10 players ahead of the upcoming season. A 1st place vote is worth 10 points, second place is worth nine points, and so on. Full voting results will be published at a later date.
Because of a tie in voting, there is no number seven on our list but rather two players tied at sixth.
How He Got Here
Windsor came to Penn State as a 260-pound defensive tackle. While the Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin native needed a redshirt year in 2015 to put on the necessary mass to play on the inside in the Big Ten, it was obviously a valuable redshirt year as Windsor has been a key contributor in Sean Spencer’s defensive line rotation for the last three seasons.
In 2016 and 2017, Windsor was the backup 1-Tech to Parker Cothren, and there showed to be a very little drop off when Windsor came onto the field. He played in 23 games during that stretch, totaling 42 tackles, 4 TFLs, 3 sacks, and 3 fumble recoveries during that time — not exactly the most glamorous of stats, but for a backup 1-Tech, it was the role that Windsor needed to play.
As a starter in 2018, Windsor took advantage of the massive jump in playing time by putting up some ridiculous stats: 39 tackles, 11 TFLs, and 7.5 sacks. In the process, he earned his way to a second-team All-Big Ten selection by the Associated Press, and has received praise for his NFL future by Gil Brandt.
What To Expect In 2019
I speculated back in January that Windsor would likely be moved to the 3-Tech in 2019, and while we have yet to receive confirmation on that, that still seems to make the most sense. He showed last year that he is more than just a run-stuffing nose guard, and being that he’s on the lighter side — Penn State has him listed at 285 pounds currently, down from the 303 pounds he was listed at in 2017 — it seems like a move to the 3-Tech is in the works.
Regardless of what spot Windsor is at in 2019, he’s going to be crucial to not only Penn State’s defensive line, but the defense overall. Bleacher Report speculated that the unit could be the second best in the country, and while that’s a lofty ranking, I don’t think it’s too far off. Sure, there will need to be some strides made across the board for them to hit *that* elite of a level, but it’s possible, and Windsor is a big reason why.
Windsor will certainly get more attention from the opposition next year, and because of that, I don’t know if he has another 11 TFLs and 7.5-sack season in him. But even without the gaudy stats, we know the impact Windsor can have. Yes, Windsor will have a brain fart here and there where he jumps offsides. But overall, he’s a very good defensive tackle that has shown the ability to do whatever is asked of him — whether that’s stuffing the run, getting after the quarterback, or playing with a nonstop motor like an absolute maniac. For a defense with championship aspirations, he’ll need to do all of that once again.