Stay updated as Penn State rises toward the top of the recruiting rankings! Don’t miss the coverage from Tyler Donohue, who brings a decade of experience as a national college football reporter and a recruiting department staff member with a Big Ten program. Read his daily notebooks here at 7:20 p.m. ET Sunday through Thursday, and follow us on Twitter for the latest Nittany Lions recruiting news.
Four-star Florida DL Derick Hunter schedules Happy Valley visit
A well-documented push to expand recruiting efforts in Florida continues to reap rewards for Penn State. The Nittany Lions, who welcomed top-5 running back recruit Noah Cain and Florida Gators commit Ja’markis Weston on campus in April, will host another premier prospect from the Sunshine State next month.
Derick Hunter, a 4-star defensive lineman who attends Dunbar (Fort Myers) High School, announced travel plans Thursday afternoon. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound prospect tweeted he will spent time at Penn State on June 13.
Considered the No. 13 strongside defensive end and a top-200 overall talent in 247Sports’ 2019 composite rankings, he also shared a pair of SEC campus visits are on his upcoming itinerary. Hunter will be at Florida on June 2 before heading to Georgia for multi-day stay (June 3-5).
Those programs are widely perceived as the primary contenders for his commitment, though his announced list of leaders includes six other schools. Hunter declared a top 8 on April 25 featuring Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Penn State, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
Hunter, who claims more than 40 scholarship offers, has been on the radar for Power 5 football staffs since his sophomore season. Michigan, Miami and Oregon are among those that offered by spring 2017.
He verbally committed to the Hurricanes last June but backed off that verbal pledge Nov. 16, opening the door for dozens of other suitors to deliver their sales pitches. Penn State entered the picture Jan. 22 and quickly caught Hunter’s attention.
Back in March, he tweeted intentions to use an official visit in State College this season. Hunter “locked in” plans to be at Beaver Stadium on Sept. 29, when Ohio State comes to town for a highly anticipated Big Ten showdown.
Penn State is searching for its first defensive line pledge of the 2019 recruiting cycle. Other notable targets include Hakeem Beamon (Chesterfield, Va.), Zach Harrison (Lewis Center, Ohio), Adisa Isaac (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Rodas Johnson (Columbus, Ohio) and Ben Smiley (Chesapeake, Va.).
Nittany Lions target WR Emery Simmons, an Indiana commit
Penn State will face Indiana on the field Oct. 20 in Bloomington. The Nittany Lions engaged the Hoosiers on the recruiting trail Wednesday, extending an offer to Emery Simmons.
Simmons, a 6-2, 190-pound wide receiver, committed to Indiana on March 18. He is presently the program’s highest-rated recruit in the 2019 class.
Penn State signed three blue-chip receivers in 2018, headlined by top-10 overall prospect Justin Shorter. Throw in the fact James Franklin redshirted three freshman receivers — including spring camp sensation KJ Hamler — last season and it’s clear the Nittany Lions have gathered quite a collection of young talent.
John Metchie (Ontario, Canada), who is also looking closely at Alabama, has long been mentioned as a priority receiver target in this cycle. David Bell (Indianapolis), John Dunmore (Hollywood, Fla.) and Cornelius Johnson (Greenwich, Conn.) are among others who warrant attention.
Now we can add Simmons to the list.
The South View (Hope Mills, N.C.) High School junior has added offers from North Carolina and Penn State since he pledged to the Hoosiers. Duke and East Carolina are among his other reported offers.
Simmons flashed serious speed at The Opening Charlotte (N.C.) regional camp this spring. He finished the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds and added an impressive 35.5-inch vertical leap.
Simmons recorded 55 receptions in 2017, per 247Sports, resulting in 997 yards and 12 touchdowns. Watch his junior-season highlights here:
Miss any previous editions of our daily Penn State recruiting notebook? You can find them all here.