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Georgia LB Allen Smith lists Penn State among favorites
Allen Smith received a scholarship offer from Penn State on the first day of March. Now, three weeks later, this 2019 linebacker recruit lists the Nittany Lions among his top collegiate options.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound prospect included Penn State in an initial top-5 list he tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
This collection of contenders spans three Power 5 conferences. Louisville and North Carolina are ACC interests, while Nebraska and Penn State represent the Big Ten. Oregon, a Pac-12 program, is also in the equation.
Smith claims more than a dozen offers, with the majority arriving since January. Despite this declaration, he made it a point to leave the door open for other universities.
“Recruitment is open to better opportunities,” Smith tweeted.
A junior who attends Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) High School, he is one of six 2019 prospects with the Peach State powerhouse who reportedly have a Nittany Lions offer. Fellow linebackers Owen Pappoe and Kevin Harris also land on that list, along with offensive lineman Wanya Morris, athlete Ronald Thompkins and safety Kenyatta Watson II.
Smith, who attended a Tennessee Volunteers junior day event last month, is likely to further emerge as a national recruit. Impressive individual traits combined with his role on a prep program that routinely draws an array of college scouts to campus should continue to generate increased interest as this cycle advances.
Though this top-5 list provides some insight into his mindset at this stage, it doesn’t provide much finality. Oregon offered last Saturday, and Smith hasn’t visited several interested schools, including Penn State.
Nittany Lions coach James Franklin and defensive coordinator Brent Pry have cast a wide net in their search for linebackers. As detailed in our Tuesday recruiting notebook, 5-star talent Brandon Smith is scheduled for an April 7 return to State College.
Penn State is waiting for its first verbal pledge from a 2019 prospect at the position. The Nittany Lions signed four linebackers, including three mid-year enrollees, in the 2018 recruiting class.
Nittany Lions offer DE Demon Clowney, cousin of No. 1 NFL draft pick
St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) sophomore Demon Clowney figures to command plenty of interest from college recruiting departments in upcoming years. Along with an impressive physical stature (6-4, 225 pounds), he also possesses a football pedigree.
The 2020 defensive end prospect, who picked up a Penn State offer on Wednesday, is a cousin of former South Carolina Gamecocks star Jadeveon Clowney. The top player in 247Sports 2011 composite rankings, the elder Clowney developed into a dominant force inside the SEC trenches. The Houston Texans selected him No. 1 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Naturally, family lineage has created a compelling wrinkle in this recruitment.
“If you hear his last name and you see him, that’s all you need to know,” Sam Poggi, the defensive line coach at St. Frances, told Bleacher Report’s Adam Kramer earlier this year. “They look alike, and athletically they’re very similar. He walks into a room, and he immediately catches everyone’s attention.”
Penn State presents the third Big Ten opportunity for Demon (pronounced Da-Mon) since this month started. Maryland and Michigan both offered during the first week of March, while Georgia, North Carolina and Pittsburgh are other programs who didn’t hesitate to enter the mix.
The Nittany Lions will pay plenty of attention to the St. Frances defensive front this fall. Along with Clowney, Penn State is targeting fellow 2020 edge rusher Chris Braswell and 2019 linebacker Shane Lee.
Penn State targets a pair of prized freshman prospects
Nittany Lions coaches are still in the very early stages of constructing a 2021 recruiting board. Penn State deemed two more high school freshmen worthy of offers during recent days, targeting Jack Sawyer and Gabe Stephens.
Stephens, a 6-2, 185-pound prospect at Mountain Island Charter School (Mount Holly, N.C.), knew the Nittany Lions were legitimately interested in him leading up to his first campus visit last Thursday. He returned home with a Penn State offer, adding it to those from North Carolina, Syracuse and TCU.
Stephens lines up at strong safety for Mountain Island and told Land of 10 that’s where Penn State projects him to play at this point. His school tweeted a few photos from the visit, including one with Franklin.
— MICS Football (@mics_football) March 22, 2018
Sawyer, who attends Pickerington North (Ohio) High, announced his Nittany Lions offer on Monday. Standing 6-5 and tipping the scales at approximately 200 pounds, he warrants long-term interest at defensive end and potentially tight end.
His recruitment has grown swiftly, as Penn State follows programs such as Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State and Kentucky in pursuing the high school freshman. Like Stephens, Sawyer secured his offer while in State College.
“I loved everything about the campus, which was really unique,” he told 247Sports’ Bill Greene. “All the facilities were top of the line compared to anything I’ve seen, and I’m in love with the place. … I would say that I am highly interested in Penn State.”
Sawyer tallied 58 tackles, including 16.5 for loss, and 3.5 sacks in 2017, according to MaxPreps. Watch his freshman-season highlights here:
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