Have Penn State football recruiting questions? Land of 10’s Tyler Donohue will answer a Recruiting Question of the Day every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can ask him your questions on Twitter or on Facebook. Find our previous questions and answers here.
Let’s jump into our latest Penn State Nittany Lions Recruiting Question of the Day…
What is the next position to focus on in the 2019 class? — Wesley Davis, via Facebook
Now that Wesley and the rest of us have had a chance to catch our breath and sort through an incredibly busy last week in Penn State recruiting, he proposes the logical question.
The Nittany Lions climbed nearly 30 spots in 2019 composite class rankings between May 17-21, securing five commitments. Penn State’s latest additions include a 5-star linebacker (Brandon Smith), a top-five running back (Devyn Ford), two blue-chip defensive backs (Tyler Rudolph and Marquis Wilson) and the No. 1 safety prospect in junior college (Jaquan Brisker).
So, to bring you up to speed, here’s who is on board in the Nittany Lions’ 2019 class seven months shy of the early signing period, listed in order of their composite ranking.
- LB Brandon Smith, Louisa County (Mineral, Va.)
- RB Devyn Ford, North Stafford (Va.)
- OL Caedan Wallace, Hun School (Princeton, N.J.)
- CB Marquis Wilson, Avon Old Farms (Conn.)
- CB/S Tyler Rudolph, St. Thomas More (Oakdale, Conn.)
- QB Taquan Roberson, DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.)
- CB Keaton Ellis, State College (Pa.)
- S Jaquan Brisker, Lackawanna College (Scranton, Pa.)
Smith provides defensive coordinator Brent Pry with yet another dynamic linebacker to develop and build around in the years to come. Lance Dixon, a 4-star prospect, is another player to watch for the Nittany Lions at linebacker as he nears an official visit to Happy Valley in June.
Ford will follow fellow top-five running back recruits Miles Sanders (2016) and Ricky Slade (2018) to campus, but his addition may not close the door on further pursuits at the position. Noah Cain, considered the No. 2 rusher in composite rankings, legitimately is interested in the Nittany Lions and carries a strong relationship with first-year running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider.
Wallace, who is projected to play guard, joins 2018 Nittany Lions signees Nana Asiedu, Fredrick Scruggs and Rasheed Walker as offensive linemen listed top-10 among players at their respective positions.
Roberson, who led DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.) to a state championship last season, possesses the dual-threat abilities to flourish in Penn State’s offense. During our conversation last month, he explained that the staff has been transparent about possible ambitions to add a second quarterback to this class. Fellow 4-star recruit Jayden Daniels recently listed the Nittany Lions among his top options.
So, that leaves pass catchers (tight ends and receivers) and defensive linemen as the missing components of this class.
Penn State already welcomed a pair of top-10 tight end prospects (freshmen Pat Freiermuth and Zack Kuntz) to campus, while three blue-chip receivers — headlined by 5-star recruit Justin Shorter — join the roster next month. As a result — and this is in no way disrespecting the group of defensive linemen the Nittany Lions signed last winter —the situation leads me to look closest at the trenches.
Antonio Alfano, New Jersey’s No. 1 overall prospect, was among the more compelling players on Penn State’s target board but he pledged to Alabama last Friday. Zach Harrison, a 5-star defensive end who attends high school 15 miles north of Ohio Stadium, traveled to Happy Valley for an official visit coinciding with the Blue-White Game. So did defensive tackle Mazi Smith, a Michigan standout who has the Wolverines giving chase.
Penn State signed top-five defensive tackle PJ Mustipher in the 2018 cycle, while incoming freshmen Judge Culpepper and Aeneas Hawkins also are expected to compete inside. Jayson Oweh, who remains a relative newcomer to the sport but presents a uniquely high ceiling, will add to a compelling collection of Nittany Lions defensive ends.
Hakeem Beamon, who de-committed from North Carolina in March, recently visited campus and plans to announce his college choice June 16. He is in the 6-4, 255-pound range, presenting a variety of options for implementation across the defensive front.
The versatile and supremely athletic David Ojabo — Oweh’s close friend and Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.) teammate — has seen his recruitment rise since Penn State extended an offer April 7. Though he has only played seven football games in his life, Ojabo claims nearly 40 offers.
Adisa Isaac, an explosive edge rusher from Brooklyn, N.Y., is another name to know, along with Columbus, Ohio, defensive tackle Rodas Johnson. Florida defensive tackle Derick Hunter, a 4-star recruit, will make his first trip to State College on June 13.
Have a question about Penn State recruiting? Tweet us @Landof10PSU and we’ll try to answer it in a future mailbag. Check to see if your issue already was addressed by reading previous Penn State Recruiting Question of the Day here.