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.
Our latest Penn State Nittany Lions Recruiting Question of the Day comes from many of you and goes something like this…
Which prospects will commit to Penn State in the next few days?
We love to highlight questions from individual Land of 10 readers who engage with us — and fortunately there are many of you — but this one has been asked repeatedly in one form or another throughout the week.
Clearly, excitement is on the rise among Nittany Lions fans. And it should be.
Fresh off a Thursday night commitment from top-ranked junior college safety Jaquan Brisker, Penn State has an excellent chance to continue building its 2019 recruiting class in a big way between now and Monday evening.
The Nittany Lions will receive answers from two top-100 overall recruits Friday afternoon. This weekend is bookended by another pair of pivotal pledge ceremonies Monday.
Based on conversations with recruits, coaches and those close to each decision-making process, I’ve placed predictions for the four Penn State targets prepared to complete their recruitments in these coming days.
Catch up on the details regarding each athlete below, ordered by announcement time.
Announcement: 3 p.m. Friday
High School: Colonia (N.J.)
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 5 strongside defensive end; No. 58 overall; No. 1 in New Jersey
Contenders: Alabama, Georgia, Penn State
Commitment Prediction: Alabama
Antonio Alfano, who picked up a scholarship offer from Penn State in June 2016, nearly announced his commitment in December. He postponed those plans and this recruitment went pretty quiet for a while.
That changed drastically last month when Alfano visited Happy Valley twice and toured campuses at Alabama and Georgia. His time in Tuscaloosa made a particularly strong impression, and the Crimson Tide have pushed hard to pry him out of the Northeast.
Alfano accelerated his decision timeline during recent weeks. He first mentioned a postseason pledge, progressed to an Aug. 1 deadline, then settled on May 18, and increased attraction to Alabama may very well have been a driving force. Former Penn State assistant Josh Gattis, who joined the Crimson Tide staff in January, has played a part in this process.
Alfano showed off freakish athleticism for a 6-foot-5, 275-pound lineman at The Opening’s New Jersey regional camp. Penn State is targeting him at defensive tackle, while other staffs have expressed interest in using Alfano off the edge.
RB Devyn Ford
Announcement: 4 p.m. Friday
High School: North Stafford (Va.)
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 3 running back; No. 65 overall; No. 2 in Virginia
Contenders: Penn State, Virginia Tech
Commitment Prediction: Penn State
Like Alfano, Devyn Ford has been on Penn State’s target board since his freshman year. He entered this spring with three top contenders but it became a two-team race when Ohio State was eliminated from the equation in mid-April.
Ford, who used an official visit for the Blue-White weekend, is close with incoming Nittany Lions freshmen Nana Asiedu (his teammate at North Stafford) and Ricky Slade (Virginia’s top-rated 2018 running back recruit). Still, the Hokies staff has made him feel like a priority throughout the process and it’s clear he feels comfortable in Blacksburg.
Ford, a first-team all-state selection last season at running back and punt returner, would provide Penn State with a top-five prospect at the position for a third time in four cycles. The Nittany Lions signed 5-star talents in 2018 (Slade) and 2016 (Miles Sanders).
“These are staffs he really trusts and, in particular, both head coaches connect well with him,” North Stafford coach Joe Mangano told Land of 10. “Once he commits to a school, unless something catastrophic happens and a coach gets fired or something, it’s going to be done and Devyn will move on to the next chapter in his life.”
Announcement: 5 p.m. Monday
High School: Louisa County (Mineral, Va.)
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 2 inside linebacker; No. 30 overall; No. 2 in Virginia
Contenders: Clemson, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech
Commitment Prediction: Penn State
While other prospects on this list have revealed their favorite choices, Brandon Smith is down to the wire with no public favorites. Still, noting those campuses he’s returned to consistently provides an indication of which programs have impressed.
Smith, who secured a Penn State offer in April 2017, has traveled to Happy Valley five times. Last July, he attended the team’s Lasch Bash celebration alongside his parents, grandparents, two uncles and younger brother.
The 6-5, 215-pound talent collected 117 tackles — 18 for loss — and 6 sacks as a junior, leading Louisa County to Virginia’s Class-4A championship game. Penn State has assembled an impressive stockpile of young linebackers, headlined by 5-star 2018 prospect Micah Parsons, and Smith would further elevate the Nittany Lions’ long-term outlook there.
“From Day 1, Penn State has always made a great impression on all of us,” his father, Rico, told Land of 10 this week. “Relationships are so important, and we’ve established a great one with them. They’ve done a good job with being consistent.”
Announcement: 6 p.m. Monday
High School: St. Thomas More (Oakdale, Conn.)
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 22 safety; No. 312 overall; No. 3 in Connecticut
Contenders: Clemson, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State
Commitment Prediction: Penn State
I’ve got Penn State completing an eventful span with its fourth commitment in five days. Tyler Rudolph would give the Nittany Lions a third defensive back pledge, joining Brisker and local cornerback Keaton Ellis (State College (Pa.) Area).
His Penn State recruitment has been shorter than others mentioned here — James Franklin extended an offer in November — but it’s operated at a sustained pace and Rudolph returned to campus multiple times this year. He used an official visit in State College for the Blue-White weekend.
“With them it just feels like a family,” he told Land of 10 in April. “The amount of love they show is crazy.”
Along with the importance of adding another top-tier talent to its class, Penn State may benefit from the ramifications of this commitment. The Nittany Lions are pursuing fellow 4-star Connecticut defensive back and Rudolph’s close friend, Marquis Wilson (Avon Old Farms), while elite 2020 defensive tackle Tre Williams also attends St. Thomas More.
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 mailbags here.