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Penn State among programs pushing hardest for 5-star DL Zach Harrison
Zach Harrison is one of college football’s most coveted prospects in the 2019 class, but developments in his recruitment haven’t been consistently publicized because of his personal nature. A protected Twitter account featuring fewer than 900 followers serves as example of an approach that’s been less public than most high-profile recruitments that have occurred in a recruiting era dominated by social media updates.
Harrison, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound defensive end listed No. 2 overall in the 247Sports 2019 composite rankings, provided a rare peek into his thought process on May 5 while in attendance at The Opening Ohio regional. Land of 10’s Ryan Donnelly was part of the media pack that flocked toward him during the event, and Harrison made it clear his comfort level is located outside the spotlight.
“I just don’t talk to people. Just don’t talk to people unless they’re in your face with cameras and cellphones. … I’m private [on all social media],” he said. “I keep my circle small. The attention came, and I didn’t like it.”
Attention from college coaches, including those in Happy Valley, continues to pour in for the Olentangy Orange (Lewis Center, Ohio) High School junior. A widespread process has helped put things in perspective for Harrison, who mentioned Penn State among notable programs in pursuit.
“Probably Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson and Penn State are the four that are recruiting me the hardest,” he said.
The Nittany Lions last welcomed Harrison to campus April 20-22. He attended the team’s spring game that weekend, spending time alongside other priority Penn State targets.
“It was fun, real fun. We got to see and do a bunch of stuff,” Harrison said. “There were a bunch of guys there, other recruits like [running back] Devyn Ford and [defensive tackle] Mazi Smith — he was my roommate there, so that was cool.”
Proximity to Columbus — his high school is about 15 miles north of Ohio Stadium — has provided the Buckeyes with an advantage when coordinating visits. Ohio State is a 100 percent projected favorite to land Harrison’s commitment in the 247Sports Crystal Ball, though he hasn’t personally tipped his hand to indicate any leader.
Harrison said plans are under way to utilize official visits at Michigan and Ohio State. He also has a tentative commitment timeline in place.
“Hopefully my birthday — Aug. 14 — but that’s not set in stone,” Harrison said. “If I know by then great, but if not, then I’m not decided.”
Despite his mention of Clemson as a contender, it’s become increasingly clear odds are in favor of Harrison competing at Beaver Stadium — as a Penn State player or member of the opposing team — during his college career.
The key for his potential suitors will be to tap into the intricacies of his recruitment we’re still largely unaware of. One thing is certain: Methods that work with many may not have the same impact on Harrison.
“I’m not going to get excited over pictures of me in their jersey and everything, so they have to change their approach and adapt to what I find important,” he said. “I’m a big family guy. I just want to go somewhere where the players care about each other, the coaches care about the players and the players care about the coaches.”
Harrison totaled 18.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in 2017. He has displayed rare athletic attributes again this spring during track and field action, evidenced by scintillating finishes in 100-meter (10.7 seconds) and 200-meter (21.5) sprints.
Watch his junior highlights here:
Frequent Happy Valley visitor Saleem Wormley schedules summer commitment
Penn State secured its first 2019 offensive line commitment on April 21, when 4-star New Jersey prospect Caedan Wallace provided his verbal pledge prior to the Blue-White Game. The Nittany Lions remain in the mix for several other blue-chip linemen and now know when to expect an answer regarding one of those options.
Saleem Wormley, who traveled to Happy Valley three times between March 24 and April 21, revealed his decision timeline Saturday evening. The 6-3, 318-pound Smyrna (Del.) High School standout tweeted he will announce a college commitment July 23.
Considered the No. 14 guard prospect in the 2019 composite rankings, Wormley previously scheduled an official visit to Notre Dame for June 15. The Fighting Irish, along with any other potential Power 5 suitor, appear to be in catch-up mode entering the final 10 weeks of his recruitment.
Wormley pointed to Penn State as his top choice days before the Blue-White Game, which he attended. The Nittany Lions landed four offensive linemen in the 2018 recruiting cycle, and pairing Wormley with Wallace would represent yet another step for Penn State’s impressive stockpile of young offensive line talent.
— B I G L E E M🌹 (@SaleemWormley77) April 14, 2018
Ronny Torres, who works with offensive linemen throughout The Opening’s national camp circuit, spoke highly of his performance at an April 8 regional showcase in New Jersey. Wormley was awarded offensive line MVP honors afterward.
“Saleem is definitely a guy who excites you watching tape,” Torres said. “Obviously, he did everything that we thought he would. During 1-on-1s, Saleem had a few ‘ooh and aah’ moments when he stonewalled guys at the line and was able to do good things against some of the better defensive linemen he went up against.”
Aside from Notre Dame and Penn State, Wormley’s collegiate offer sheet features Florida State, Maryland, Oregon, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Other key concerns for Penn State along the offensive front in 2019 recruiting efforts include Devontae Dobbs (Belleville, Mich.), Jakai Moore (Nokesville, Va.) and Xavier Truss (Warwick, R.I.).
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