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Isheem Young gives Penn State sixth commit in five days
The commitment spree continued Tuesday for Nittany Lions coach James Franklin, who picked up his seventh pledge of July. Isheem Young, a 4-star safety from Philadelphia, is the latest addition.
Young, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound senior at Imhotep Institute Charter High School, held an announcement ceremony Tuesday afternoon. This event coincided with the release of his commitment video, courtesy of Bleacher Report:
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 18, 2017
Alabama, Clemson, Maryland, Ohio State and West Virginia were his other finalists. He claims 29 scholarship offers.
Considered the No. 12 safety and a top-200 overall prospect in 247Sports’ 2018 composite rankings, Young is the sixth in-state player to join the class. Receiver Shaquon Anderson-Butts, another Pennsylvania product, was one of five prospects who pledged to Penn State during a tremendously busy weekend on campus.
The program hosted camps Friday and Sunday, with its annual Lasch Bash taking center stage throughout Saturday. Young’s decision further enhances the growing excitement surrounding Nittany Lions recruiting efforts.
Penn State now carries 20 commitments more than six months shy of National Signing Day. The class includes players from 11 states, and it’s listed No. 3 nationally.
The Nittany Lions hold pledges from seven players considered top-200 overall prospects, equaling the number of top-200 recruits Franklin signed during the past two recruiting cycles combined.
Expectations are in place for that number to grow, and multiple blue-chip targets may commit prior to their senior season.
Young is the fourth defensive back on board, following a July 6 commitment from 4-star cornerback Jordan Miner of Florida. The Nittany Lions defensive staff also has added defensive tackle Judge Culpepper and edge rusher Dorian Hardy since June.
As an impressive class continues to assemble, it’s clear Penn State is primed to sign perhaps its best recruiting class of the decade. Aside from garnering national attention, this cycle sets the stage for increased competition on fields of Happy Valley.
“It would be great to go up against [Young] every single day in practice,” 5-star Penn State WR pledge Justin Shorter said this spring. “My dad always says ‘iron sharpens iron,’ and I believe that would be the case for both of us as we develop at Penn State. He’s a tremendous defensive player, and I hope to be a great offensive player, so we’ll make each other work hard and that would make the team better as a whole.”
Momentum moving in right direction with 4-star DT Aeneas Hawkins
Penn State continues pushing for several defensive-line prospects. Defensive tackle PJ Mustipher and defensive end Jayson Oweh attended Nittany Lions camp Friday, and they were then joined by fellow 4-star lineman Aeneas Hawkins at Lasch Bash.
The 6-3, 265-pound Cincinnati standout, who has more than 30 offers, consistently mentions Penn State among top options. The Nittany Lions may have surged past competition during the weekend, as Hawkins expressed a lot of positivity during a discussion with Greg Pickel of PennLive.
“My visit was amazing, to be honest,” he told Pickel. “…It was like I needed to be reminded why I had fallen in love with PSU in the first place.”
Those are strong statements from Hawkins, listed No. 23 nationally among defensive tackles. His mindset is reflected in the 247Sports Crystal Ball, which features 14 consecutive projections for Penn State.
I’m among the analysts placing a prediction for him to land in Happy Valley. Though hometown school Cincinnati and Ohio State still have a chance, Penn State has surged in this recruitment, and it wouldn’t have been a surprise if Hawkins committed during his time on campus.
— Aeneas Hawkins (@AeneasHawkins) July 16, 2017
Nittany Lions defensive line coach Sean Spencer is among the team’s ace recruiters, and he appears primed to build an elite collection of 2018 talent. Along with Hawkins, Mustipher and Oweh, Penn State is also firmly in the picture for 4-star DE Tyreke Smith of Ohio and 5-star Pennsylvania DE Micah Parsons, who previously spent 14 months committed to the class.
Nittany Lions identify a new 2019 QB target
A busy weekend in State College included a commitment from 3-star QB Will Levis, who filled the void left behind by 5-star recruit Justin Fields’ June 6 de-commitment. He landed an offer from Penn State after working out in front of coaches Friday night.
Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead also focused further into the future at this pivotal position, placing a new target on his 2019 quarterback board. Taquan Roberson attended camp last weekend and showed enough promise to warrant an offer Sunday.
— tr.1__ (@TaquanRoberson_) July 16, 2017
Roberson, a 6-foot, 185-pound junior at DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.) High School, received an offer from Boston College last month. His early list of collegiate opportunities also includes Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Rutgers and Virginia Tech.
Penn State, still searching for its first commitment for 2019, is the fourth rising junior quarterback to receive an offer from the team. The others are Roschon Johnson of Texas, Max Duggan of Iowa and Garrett Shrader of North Carolina.
Shrader also visited State College during the weekend, delivering a performance that confirmed his status as a premier young passer. The 6-foot-5 prospect has a significant size advantage over Roberson, but a lack of prototypical size hasn’t prevented programs from entering this pursuit.
It’s worth noting Trace McSorley stands 6-foot. He set several Penn State records last fall as a first-year starter at quarterback.
Roberson, who plays with fellow Nittany Lions target Ronnie Hickman (receiver/safety) at DePaul Catholic, completed 51 percent of pass attempts in 2016, according to Brian Dohn of Scout.com. His sophomore season featured 1,174 passing yards, 365 rushing yards, 11 total touchdowns and 7 interceptions.