Greg Penn III, known as “GP” to his teammates and friends is a key factor for the LSU defense. Penn, following his dad and grandfather, is a great athlete. His father was a basketball player, and his grandfather was a phenomenal football player. So, although growing up around basketball, Penn knew he wanted to get on the football field, especially once he got to high school.

Penn comes from the notable DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland and ventured all the way down to the boot of Louisiana, shaking things up since his arrival in 2021.

Since his freshman season, Penn has significantly improved his game. He started one game as a freshman – the Texas Bowl versus Kansas State – then started every game his sophomore season, and has started 10 of the Tigers’ 11 games in 2023.

Switching positions from Will to Mike linebacker this year, he has a more inside attack strategy, but still manages to disrupt the opponent’s offense. This season, Penn has 75 total tackles – 29 solo and 46 assisted – and he recorded the first interception of his career on September 9 against Grambling.

Penn has always stood out with his ability to read offenses and his high football IQ, but this year he has really stepped up by helping his teammates with whatever they need on and off the field.

LSU true freshman linebacker, Whit Weeks, spoke about Penn’s character as one of the leaders of the Tigers’ defense.

“It’s awesome, he helps me a lot,” Weeks said when asked ‘What’s it like playing next to Greg Penn?’ Penn used to play the position that Weeks plays now, so he’s able to tell Weeks the correct information in the heat of the game. “I’ll say like, ‘Greg, Greg what do I got’? And he’ll tell me,” Weeks said.

Penn always has positive words for and about his teammates. “I call West (Weeks) ‘Captain America’ and Whit ‘Sunshine’ from (the movie) Remember The Titans. They just always have good energy,” Penn said when asked how he likes playing with the Weeks brothers.

Of linebacker Harold Perkins Jr., Penn said, “Perk is a freak athlete. Perk is a really great teammate. He has really grown as a person and player here at LSU.

“(Defensive tackle Mekhi) Wingo and I, this year personally we’ve gotten real close,” Penn continued. “Probably outside of practice, he and I hang out the most among my teammates. He leads by example. When you go out there and play with him, you know he’s going to do his job.”

Penn is the definition of a team player, always speaking in a humble manner, making sure to give everybody their props.

“We have a good group, I wouldn’t say just one person,” he explained. “I think collectively as a whole, guys on the defense have started to step up.”

He often uses phrases like, “as a whole,” “all of us,” or “all the guys.” He’s a selfless leader that comes in ready to work and be at the forefront, but he hasn’t always been that way.

LSU defensive coordinator Matt House has played a pivotal role in the development of Penn, encouraging him to be more vocal and take on a leadership role on and off the field. House can see that Penn has what it takes to go far.

“Just the way Coach House thinks, he’s definitely helped me see the whole picture of the offense and things like that, that help me play better,” Penn said. “Don’t second guess. Just go. Once you see it, just go and trust your mind. Having my teammates be able to trust me and listen to me and being able to communicate with them is vital. Just being a trustworthy guy on the defense.”

Penn’s sense of calmness has also brought him many friendships that extend well beyond the football field and locker room. Since he’s from Maryland, he doesn’t get to go back home often, so the bonds he’s made at school in south Louisiana have really made him feel welcomed over the years.

“(Defensive back) Sage Ryan being from here, I went to his house for Easter last year,” Penn explained. “I live with (wide receiver) Brian Thomas, so we chop it up after practice. (Defensive end) Bryce Langston, Perk, (defensive tackle) Maason Smith, it’s a lot of guys that I hang out with,” Penn said.

Greg Penn III is a powerhouse defender. He ranks in the 2023 Top 10 for total tackles in the SEC. Last year, he was No.2 on the LSU defense with 78 total tackles, just behind Micah Baskerville’s 89 stops.

Baskerville, who’s now with the Chicago Bears, is someone Penn learned a lot from during the time they played together. “I look up to Micah, he’s still teaching me things. He’s one of the smartest people I know,” Penn said.

Penn is honored to play at the highest level of college football there is. When asked what word he would use to describe the LSU defense he responded with “Physical.” He loves Tiger Nation and Death Valley and wants to make them, along with his family, proud. Every day, he goes into practice with a calm spirit ready to improve and leave his mark as one of the best defensive players in LSU history.