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Penn's defensive line tackles Brown quarterback EJ Perry on Nov. 3 during the 2019 season.

Credit: Son Nguyen

As Penn football begins its first season in almost two years, we take a look at this year’s Red and Blue defense to see who has appeared in previous seasons and who we might see in their upcoming games. 


Prince Emili, graduate student in his sixth year of eligibility

Emili, who was on Penn’s Ivy League championship-winning team in 2016, was also named first team All-Ivy in 2019 and was a Football Championship Subdivision National Defensive Player of the Week Honorable Mention that same season. The Quaker appeared in seven games in 2017, followed by 10 games — seven of them starts — at defensive end in 2018, and finished the 2019 season with 65 tackles, including a team-high 14.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. 

Micah Morris, junior, appeared in all 10 games in his freshman year (2019) 

In his 10 games played in 2019, Morris notched 13 tackles and had 1.5 tackles for loss, including 0.5 sacks. He had two tackles at Delaware, three tackles against Sacred Heart, two tackles at Columbia, and two tackles at Yale.

Khalil Lewis, senior, appeared in all 10 games in 2019. He had two solo tackles at Lafayette and recorded 0.5 tackles for loss at Columbia in the blowout loss. 


Brian O’Neill, graduate student in his fifth year of eligibility 

O’Neill appeared in all games in 2017, was a starting linebacker in 2018, and followed that year with an even more successful 2019. He was named second team All-Ivy, Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week, and was a FCS Player of the Week Honorable Mention twice that season. 

Jake Heimlicher, senior, has appeared in two seasons (2018, 2019)

In his last season, he appeared in all 10 games as linebacker and ended with 14 tackles. He had four solo tackles against Dartmouth and three tackles and one sack versus Brown. 

Tanner Long, senior, appeared in two seasons (2018, 2019) 

He appeared in six games in 2019, had two total tackles, one assisted tackle for loss at Columbia, and a solo tackle against Brown. 


Jaden Key, junior, appeared in eight games his freshman season (2019)

He recorded 16 tackles and one pass breakup that season. He had two tackles at Lafayette. In a game against Columbia, he recorded a season-high seven tackles, including four solo stops. He also had two tackles at Yale, three solo tackles against Brown, and one tackle and pass breakup at Harvard. 

Kendren Smith, junior, appeared in nine games his freshman season (2019)

The Quaker finished with 33 tackles, with 26 of those being solo stops. He also intercepted a pass, returned it for 14 yards, and he had five pass breakups that season. Smith had two tackles at Lafayette, two solo stops against Dartmouth, six tackles and one pass breakup versus Sacred Heart, and two solo tackles and one interception at Columbia. He also had four solo tackles against Brown, five tackles and one pass breakup at Harvard, and eight tackles and one pass breakup against Princeton. 

Mohammed Diakite, senior, appeared in both his freshman and sophomore years (2018, 2019)

In 2018, Diakite was named one of 25 finalists for the Jerry Rice Award Finalist, and he was also received honorable mention All-Ivy and was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week that year. That season he appeared in all 10 games as cornerback with seven starts and finished with 37 total tackles, three interceptions, five pass breakups, and one fumble recovery. In 2019, he only appeared in two games, but he still registered 14 tackles. 

Jason McCleod Jr., senior, appeared in all 10 games his sophomore year (2019)

In the 2019 season, McCleod registered 56 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a team-high nine pass breakups. He had three tackles, including 1.0 tackles for loss at Delaware, seven solo tackles at Lafayette, eight tackles and two pass breakups against Sacred Heart, seven tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss at Columbia, and five tackles and three pass breakups against Brown. The Quaker also registered eight tackles against Cornell, seven tackles and two pass breakups at Harvard, and two tackles and two pass breakups versus Princeton. 

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