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An update on Penn State’s early 2019 recruiting efforts
The 2017 “spring evaluation period” concluded June 1, ushering in a “quiet period” on the college football recruiting calendar through July 31. Eventually, a “dead period” goes into place June 26-July 9, before Penn State hosts its largest on-campus summer recruiting event the following weekend.
Spring evaluation, which lasted April 15-May 31, resulted in a slew of new scholarship offers. Members of the 2019 class were especially impacted, as sophomores across America saw their offer sheets swell.
Coaching staffs throughout college football traveled tirelessly for in-person assessments at spring practices and conversations with prospects’ high school coaches. It requires plenty of work and overnight hotel stays but these are ultimately the foundational moments that add up to create a successful National Signing Day.
Let’s hit the rewind button and focus on some notable Penn State offers that were extended to 2019 recruits this spring. Below is an alphabetically ordered list of those athletes, along with a swift summation of each new Nittany lions targets.
4-star OLB Marcel Brooks (Flower Mound, Texas) — The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Marcus High School standout has experience at safety but projects to play in the front-seven in college. Brooks called Penn State his “dream school” upon the May 22 offer, though Oklahoma, Texas and TCU have since entered this equation.
4-star DE Steven Faucheux (West Chester, Ohio) — James Franklin welcomes Faucheux to campus this weekend, and the 6-5, 272-pound prospect told Land of 10 he sensed “a really good vibe going with the players and coaches” during his initial trip to State College this spring. Ohio State and Notre Dame are also in line to host the Lakota West High lineman this summer.
4-star TE Hudson Henry (Little Rock, Ark.) — Penn State picked up a pair of top-10 tight end recruits in the 2018 cycle, and proceeded to offer Henry and fellow 4-star 2019 TE Austin Stogner on May 17. Already 6-5, 230 pounds, this Pulaski Academy product has significant family ties to the Arkansas Razorbacks and is the younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers TE Hunter Henry.
4-star CB Cam’Ron Kelly (Chesapeake, Va.) — Franklin is on a roll targeting Virginia recruits, including 2018 commits Nana Asiedu and Ricky Slade, so it’s no surprise to see another offer extended in the state. Kelly, a 6-1, 190 pound defensive back at Oscar Smith High, added offers from Florida State, Georgia, Michigan and North Carolina within three weeks of Penn State.
4-star OT John Olmstead (Metuchen, N.J.) — Like Virginia, the Garden State has been fertile recruiting territory for Franklin. Olmstead joins safety Ronnie Hickman as a priority 2019 target from New Jersey. The 6-6, 290 pound Metuchen St. Joseph High lineman told Land of 10 he “grew up watching Penn State”, and now holds seven Big Ten offers.
4-star WR Kendrell Scurry (Thompson’s Station, Tenn.) — This 6-3, 185-pound pass target spent his entire sophomore year committed to the Tennessee Volunteers, but he backed off that verbal pledge this week. Penn State extended an offer May 4 and will look to make headway in a reopened recruitment for Scurry, who caught 58 passes for 977 yards and 16 touchdowns last fall, per 247Sports.
4-star DE Brandon Smith (Mineral, Va.) — This 6-3, 210-pound edge rusher emerged as a dominant force during his sophomore season at Louisa County High, securing 75 tackles – 17 for loss – 10 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Smith received an offer from Franklin while at State College for a second time, and he will return to campus in July.
5-star DT Ishmael Sopsher (Amite, La.) — Penn State joined a long list of Power 5 programs to offer Sopsher, who is considered the No. 2 overall 2019 recruit in 247Sports’ rankings. Franklin faces a tall task attempting to crash an SEC-filled recruitment that features Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU and several others.
3-star CB Raymond Woodie III (Zephyrhills, Fla.) — Expect a ratings rise for this versatile 6-1, 185-pound athlete, who played quarterback prior to a recent transfer to Wiregrass Ranch High. Now concentrated on his development at cornerback, the son of Oregon Ducks assistant Raymond Woodie II joins teammate Jordan Miner (we’ll get to him soon) in the Nittany Lions’ cross-hairs.
— 1️⃣Way Ray (@Raymoney333) May 7, 2017
4-star Florida CB Jordan Miner set for first visit to Happy Valley
As we alluded to just a moment ago, Woodie isn’t the only Wiregrass Ranch player on Penn State’s radar. Miner, a 6-1, 179-pound cornerback with nearly 30 scholarship offers, placed the Nittany Lions on a list of top options April 22.
He’ll have a chance to further evaluate the program Saturday. Miner is scheduled to journey north alongside his father, John, and his perception of Penn State could drastically shift before a return flight home.
“I just want to go up there and make sure that the love is real,” he told Land of 10 in May. “Get a whole feel for the campus and see if I could really see myself playing there. I’ll get a look at the academics, first and foremost, before the football facility.”
Considered the No. 29 cornerback in 247Sports’ 2018 composite rankings, Miner tallied 38 tackles, 12 pass deflections and 3 interceptions in 2016. He also provides potential as a special teams returner, and discussions with Nittany Lions cornerbacks coach Terry Smith have focused on multiple roles.
“I talk to Coach Smith at least once a week,” Miner said. “He sees me playing all over the defense: at cornerback, nickel and some safety. He also sees me playing special teams on kick return and punt return. There’s going to be a solid chance I can come in and play right way.”
Penn State QB commit Justin Fields journeys to Los Angeles for Elite 11 finals
Justin Fields has another chance to impress this weekend, when he takes his show on the road to Los Angeles for Elite 11 finals. The event features two dozen top-tier 2018 quarterback prospects, and 12 will advance to compete at The Opening finals, which are held June 28-July 3 in Beaverton, Ore., at Nike’s world headquarters.
Continued industry rankings movement has vaulted Fields to No. 6 overall in 2018 composite rankings. He trails only Trevor Lawrence, a Clemson commit and fellow Elite 11 finalist, on the list of quarterbacks.
The 6-3, 221-pound Harrison (Kennesaw, Ga.) High playmaker can expect plenty of challenges in Southern California. An accomplished group of instructors and current college quarterbacks will help train attendees in mental, physical and emotional aptitude. Past Elite 11 competitors include Andrew Luck, Jameis Winston and all-time Penn State passing leader Christian Hackenberg.
Fields completed 67 percent of pass attempts in 2016, per MaxPreps, resulting in 2,770 yards and 23 touchdowns. He added 1,176 yards and 15 scores as a rusher, serving up plenty of evidence on why he is ranked No. 1 among dual-threat quarterbacks.
Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and LSU are in a collection of schools that continue to chase Fields, who verbally committed to the Nittany Lions in December.