Penn State has held a comfortable lead with 247Sports’ No. 1-ranked recruiting class in 2018 since National Signing Day for the 2017 cycle, but an old rival has emerged as the first serious contender to knock the Nittany Lions from their perch.
Braden Lenzy, a 4-star athlete from Portland, Ore., committed Wednesday night to Notre Dame. He became the 11th player to commit to the Fighting Irish in the 2018 class, which ties Penn State and Miami for the most in the nation.
— Braden Lenzy (@blspeedy21) February 23, 2017
Penn State’s No. 1-ranked class has currently accrued 216.46 points in the 247Sports composite team rankings. Lenzy puts Notre Dame at 202.53, making the Fighting Irish the second program to eclipse 200.
Lenzy is Notre Dame’s eighth blue-chip (4- or 5-star) prospect in the class, which ties Penn State for the most in the country. The biggest advantage for the Nittany Lions is they have two 5-star prospects in tow — DE Micah Parsons and RB Ricky Slade — while all eight blue-chip guys for Notre Dame are currently 4-star players.
It is still very, very, very early in the process. All of the typical recruiting powerhouses will eventually rise to near the top of the rankings.
But an early battle is brewing among Penn State, Notre Dame and Miami for the top spot heading into the summer before these prospects’ senior seasons. Penn State and Notre Dame haven’t been near the top of recruiting rankings much lately, but both are off to a great start with this class.
The two programs haven’t played much recently, either, but still remain rivals on the recruiting trail. Notre Dame also has two of the top players in Pennsylvania committed in the 2018 class: QB Phil Jurkovec from Gibsonia Pine-Richland High School is the No. 2 player in the state behind Parsons, and LB Matthew Bauer from Erie Cathedral Prep is No. 6.
Penn State also has a commitment from the No. 4 player in the state, TE Zack Kuntz from Camp Hill High School.