2019 NFL draft: Eagles take Penn State DE Shareef Miller at No. 138 overall

2019 NFL draft: Eagles take Penn State DE Shareef Miller at No. 138 overall

Eagles first-round pick Andre Dillard was saying Friday he had never been to Philadelphia and didn’t know what the word Wawa meant.

Eagles fourth-round pick Shareef Miller won’t have that problem.

Miller, a defensive end out of Penn State, grew up in Philly and played high school football at George Washington in the Somerton section of Northeast Philadelphia.

Nearest Wawa: Half a mile up Bustleton Avenue.

What would it be like to be drafted by the Eagles?

“I grew up on the Eagles,” Miller said at the combine in Indianapolis in February. “Me and my grandpop watched the Eagles games every day. We cried when the Eagles won the Super Bowl. So ... if I get drafted to the Eagles, that would be a dream come true. It would be crazy. I think my family would go crazy.”

The Eagles picked Miller with the 138th pick, the final pick of the fourth round, and he’s the first defensive player they took in this year’s draft. Miller is the first Philly native the Eagles have drafted since another George Washington graduate — running back Bruce Perry out of Maryland in the seventh round in 2004.

Miller has been on the Eagles’ radar a long time, and at the combine he spoke about his meeting with the Eagles.

“They had my good plays and my bad plays and I had the defensive line coach (Phillip Daniels) coaching me up, telling me what I could do, what I could have done better here, stuff like that,” he said. “And I was taking the coaching in and explaining the things we do. (Defensive coordinator) Jim Schwartz was in there too, he was coaching me up too. But (head coach) Doug Pederson was just like staring at me, my body language, stuff like that. It was pretty cool just being in a meeting with the Eagles, you know. I'm from Philadelphia and growing up loving the Eagles, so that was real good.”

Miller, who stands 6-foot-4, 255 pounds, had 7½ sacks this past year and 14½ in his three years in State College, along with 31½ tackles for loss. He was selected co-Defensive Player of the Year this past season for Penn State, which had the 23rd-ranked defense in the BCS in points allowed.

Miller is the second Penn State athlete the Eagles drafted this year coming two rounds after running back Miles Sanders.

This is the first time in 40 years the Eagles have taken two Penn State players in the same draft. In 1979, they took receiver Scott Fitzkee in the fifth round and center Chuck Correal in the eighth.

The last nine Penn State players the Eagles drafted were on offense. Miller is the first defensive player they’ve taken since defensive lineman Jim Schwab in the 14th round in 1962.

Miller adds youth, potential and depth to an older group of pass rushers on the Eagles’ roster.

Brandon Graham is 31, Vinny Curry is 30 and Chris Long — who is mulling retirement — is 34.

With Derek Barnett, the first-round pick two years ago, and Miller, the Eagles now have two younger pass rushers to build around.

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Penn State's big rally falls short in Citrus Bowl loss to Kentucky

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Penn State's big rally falls short in Citrus Bowl loss to Kentucky

BOX SCORE

ORLANDO, Fla. — Benny Snell Jr. ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns to become Kentucky's career rushing leader and help the 16th-ranked Wildcats wrap up their best season in more than four decades with a 27-24 victory over No. 13 Penn State in the Citrus Bowl on Tuesday.

Snell scored on runs of 2 and 12 yards in the second half, then carried for a couple of crucial first downs to help Kentucky (10-3) run out the clock after Penn State's Trace McSorley trimmed a 27-7 deficit to three points despite playing with a foot injury.

McSorley threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns, and the Nittany Lions' career passing and wins leader also rushed for a team-high 75 yards on 19 attempts.

Lynn Bowden Jr. scored on a 58-yard punt return for Kentucky, and Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year Josh Allen had three of the Wildcats' six sacks.

Penn State (9-4) trailed 27-7 entering the fourth quarter, but McSorley's wasn't finished. His 1-yard TD run capped a 75-yard drive, and he followed with an 18-yard TD pass to Pat Friermuth to cut Kentucky's lead to six.

The Nittany Lions marched to the Kentucky 14 on their next possession to pull to within 27-24 with 4:12 left.

Thanks to Snell, a junior who already has declared for the NFL draft, McSorley didn't get the ball back until just one second was left on the clock.

Kentucky finished with its first 10-win season since 1977, when the Wildcats went 10-1.

Snell broke Sonny Collins' career rushing record on his 12-yard TD run that made it 27-7 late in the third quarter. Collins rushed for 3,835 yards from 1972-75.

The takeaway

Kentucky: Facing a tradition-rich opponent in a New Year's bowl was a big deal for the Wildcats, who made the most of the opportunity. Along with the three sacks, Allen blocked a field goal to key a strong defensive effort, while the offense shrugged off a slow start to help the Wildcats pull away in the second half.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions fell short of their goal to finish with 10 wins in three consecutive seasons for the first time since 1980-82. Three of their four losses were by a total of eight points.

Up next

Kentucky: Wildcats look to build on success they've had under coach Mark Stoops, who has transformed them into a Top 25 team. Their 5-3 record in SEC play represented their first winning mark in the league in 41 years, spawning heightened expectations for 2019.

Penn State: Nittany Lions face challenge of replacing McSorley, the school's career leader for wins, completions, passing yards, passing TDs, total offense and rushing TDs by a quarterback.

No. 18 Penn State 33, Indiana 28: Nittany Lions put an end to 2-game skid

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No. 18 Penn State 33, Indiana 28: Nittany Lions put an end to 2-game skid

BOX SCORE

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Trace McSorley and No. 18 Penn State kept it simple to snap a two-game losing streak.

"We just took what was there," McSorley said.

McSorley passed for 220 yards, ran for 107 and had a hand in three touchdowns in Penn State's 33-28 victory over Indiana on Saturday.

Penn State (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) rallied after Indiana (4-4, 1-4) took a 21-20 lead in the third quarter on Steve Scott's 3-yard touchdown run.

Johnathan Thomas took the ensuing kickoff back to the Indiana 5, setting up McSorley for the go-ahead touchdown on the next play.

Brandon Wilson partially blocked the extra point, leaving Penn State's lead at 26-21. Indiana forced Penn State to punt on the Nittany Lions' next drive, but J-Shun Harris fumbled the punt return and turned the ball over. Five plays later, McSorley nearly walked into the end zone to make it 33-21 lead.

"Every time it seemed like we had the game in control and were able to put them away, they would battle back," Penn State coach James Franklin said. "We'll take this win, go back and watch the film, make corrections and get better."

The Hoosiers added a late touchdown Peyton Ramsey's 21-yard pass to Harris, and recovered an onside kick. Michael Penix and Ramsey split snaps for the Hoosiers, combining for 330 passing yards and a touchdown. Scott led Indiana in rushing with 138 yards and two touchdowns.

"Just a gut-wrenching loss for our team today. I thought our kids played their hearts out," Indiana coach Tom Allen said. "Proud of the effort. Just have to play better in certain situations and times, in critical moments."

Miles Sanders ran for 72 yards and a touchdown for Penn State.

The takeaway
Penn State: The Nittany Lions avoided stumbling at Indiana in what could easily be viewed as a trap game. Having lost two straight, Penn State simply couldn't afford to lose this one when considering the next three opponents on the Nittany Lions' schedule -- Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Indiana: The Hoosiers missed an opportunity to secure one of two more wins needed to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2016.

Up next
Penn State: Host Iowa next Saturday.

Indiana: At Minnesota next Saturday.