The secondary was already a strength of the 2017 recruiting class for Penn State, and it got even better on National Signing Day.
Tariq Castro-Fields, a 4-star cornerback from Riverdale Baptist High School in Upper Marlboro, Md., chose the Nittany Lions on Wednesday. Castro-Fields had Penn State, Maryland and Alabama in his final three, but the Nittany Lions fended off his home school in the end.
He was originally scheduled to announce his decision on Jan. 23, but delayed it to signing day. Penn State was reportedly the favorite to land him nine days ago, and ended up winning out after a slight delay.
Castro-Fields is the No. 33 cornerback in the country in the class of 2017, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He’s the No. 8 player in Maryland and joins wide receiver Cameron Sullivan-Brown of Laurel, Md., as Penn State commits.
Adding Castro-Fields gives Penn State 11 blue-chip recruits (4- or 5-star prospects) in this class, which currently includes 20 commitments. It comes two days after 4-star linebacker Ellis Brooks from Richmond, Va., became the 19th member of the class.
Penn State has been as high as 12th in the 247Sports composite team rankings, but began signing day at No. 15 as other schools made a strong finishing push. The addition of Castro-Fields might not be enough to keep the Nittany Lions in the top 15, but it should ensure a third straight top-20 class.
His decision also means Penn State should add four 4-star defensive backs in this cycle. The Nittany Lions only signed three 4-star prospects who became defensive backs from 2005-14.
Castro-Fields took his official visit to Penn State the weekend of Jan. 13 and was spotted hanging out with coach James Franklin at Pegula Arena during a Nittany Lions hockey game. Franklin went to Castro-Fields’ home for an in-home visit on Jan. 17. He was joined by three assistants: cornerbacks coach Terry Smith, special teams coach Charles Huff and defensive line coach Sean Spencer.
Maryland had four members of its coaching staff at an in-home visit with Castro-Fields three days later. Head coach D.J. Durkin’s convoy included defensive coordinator Andy Buh and defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim.