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Taking a closer look at Penn State class after commitment spree
Whew. If you used Tuesday to catch your breath in the aftermath of a dizzying few days for Penn State football recruiting efforts, you weren’t alone.
There’s plenty to digest in the aftermath of a Nittany Lions onslaught that resulted in five verbal commitments during a five-day span. This time frame’s final 24 hours alone produced three blue-chip defensive pledges.
Reaction was swift across the college football landscape, warranting praise from national analysts, top prospects and Nittany Lions players themselves. Even Micah Parsons, the top-rated recruit in Penn State’s top-ranked recruiting class, expressed tremendous excitement about the momentum.
The dust has seemingly settled in State College, allowing us to sort through this sudden evolution for a 2019 recruiting class that nearly tripled in size between Thursday night and Monday afternoon. Let’s look at the commitment timeline.
- Thursday, 11:55 p.m. — No. 1 junior college safety Jaquan Brisker announces
- Friday, 4:35 p.m. — Top-5 running back Devyn Ford announces
- Sunday, 8:20 p.m. — Four-star defensive back Marquis Wilson announces
- Monday, 5:30 p.m. — Five-star linebacker Brandon Smith announces
- Monday, 6:10 p.m. — Four-star defensive back Tyler Rudolph announces
When coach James Franklin and his team arrived at Beaver Stadium on April 21 for the Blue-White Game, Penn State carried two verbal commitments in its 2019 class. By the time he sat down for dinner May 21, this group had swelled to eight athletes.
Psu knows how to recruit , other schools take Notes ✍🏽
— RS3⛏ (@TheSlade_Era) May 21, 2018
Top-10 guard prospect Caedan Wallace committed to the Nittany Lions a couple of hours before spring game kickoff, joining State College cornerback Keaton Ellis and New Jersey quarterback Taquan Roberson in the class. Prior to his pledge, Penn State went nearly six months without an addition after Roberson’s Oct. 26 announcement.
Half of this class is comprised of players considered top-5 prospects at their respective positions, according to 247Sports 2019 composite rankings: Ford (No. 3 running back), Smith (No. 2 inside linebacker), Wallace (No. 4 guard) and Brisker (No. 1 JUCO safety).
Roberson, Rudolph and Wilson are 4-star talents. Ellis is a top-40 cornerback recruit who earned defensive back MVP honors at The Opening’s Canton (Ohio) regional camp earlier this month and could certainly rise in rankings after missing much of the 2017 season because of a broken thumb on his right hand.
Only weeks ago, plenty of Penn State fans appeared to be inching toward the panic button regarding a low volume of 2019 commitments. Suddenly, via what essentially served as a long weekend Nittany Lions recruiting showcase, Franklin has reminded them something special is brewing at the Lasch Building.
More than half (16) of Penn State’s combined 2018 signees and 2019 commits (31 total) are considered top-10 overall prospects at their respective position in composite rankings.
Let’s put that in perspective, shall we?
Franklin’s first four recruiting classes in State College featured 91 signees, 15 of whom warranted a top-10 designation at their position. That group played a paramount role in earning the 2016 Big Ten championship, a victory in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl, and won 20 of the last 23 games.
What happens next as the Nittany Lions reload with an elevated level of perceived talent? The answer will require a few years of observations but Penn State is setting the stage for sustained high-level success with its recruiting prowess.
Nittany Lions listed among favorites for 4-star QB Jayden Daniels
Penn State carries a commitment from Roberson, a 4-star talent who led DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.) High School to a state championship last season, but the staff has been open with him about possibly pursuing a second quarterback pledge. Jayden Daniels, a standout at Cajon (San Bernardino, Calif.) is one name to keep on the radar.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound playmaker placed Penn State on a list of favorites he tweeted Monday night. The Nittany Lions face competition from Cal, Georgia, Nebraska, Southern Cal, Texas A&M, UCLA and Utah.
Daniels, considered the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback and No. 80 overall recruit in 2019 composite rankings, received a Penn State offer on Feb. 22. The next step in this relationship could potentially be a cross-country trip to State College, though no visit plans have been made public.
He displayed a dynamic skill set in 2017, delivering 5,139 passing yards and 62 touchdown tosses. Daniels also shined in the run game, gaining 1,292 yards on the ground with 15 additional scores.
Watch his junior season highlights here:
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