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Penn State QB commit Will Levis throws 7 touchdowns in first 2 games
Among the five pledges Penn State picked up during its mid-July Lasch Bash weekend, perhaps none proved more pivotal than Will Levis. Less than six weeks removed from the de-commitment of 5-star quarterback Justin Fields, the Nittany Lions identified and offered his replacement following a July 14 camp session.
Levis, a 6-foot-4, 222-pound senior at Xavier (Middletown, Conn.) High School, worked under the close supervision of Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead that evening. He arrived in Happy Valley as a recruit on the rise, receiving scholarship offers from Florida State, Iowa, North Carolina, Ole Miss and Syracuse during the month preceding his visit.
The Nittany Lions staff elected to join the pursuit following his camp performance, and Levis went public with a Penn State commitment the next morning.
“It’s great to have him on board,” Nittany Lions tight end commit Pat Freiermuth told me afterward. “Zack [Kuntz] and I were working with him [during camp] and he throws a nice ball. Great get for our class.”
Two games into his senior season, he’s serving up evidence of why collegiate coaches rushed to recruit him this summer.
Levis, considered Connecticut’s No. 1 overall prospect in 247Sports 2018 composite rankings, has thrown 7 touchdowns while helping Xavier score 67 points in a pair of contests. He decimated the Newton High defense during a 30-14 win last Friday night, completing 69 percent of pass attempts for 281 yards and 4 touchdowns, according to Sean Fitz of 247Sports.
Although Xavier suffered a last-second loss in its opener, Levis helped put the team in position to secure victory. He completed 3 touchdown tosses in the 40-37 defeat vs. Norwich Free Academy, according to Jimmy Zanor of the Norwich Bulletin.
Last year, Levis didn’t surpass 6 touchdown passes until Week 4. His junior campaign featured 1,972 passing yards, 25 total touchdowns and 5 interceptions, per MaxPreps.
The most notable development for Levis thus far in 2017 is accuracy improvement. He completed more than 60 percent of passes only twice in 10 games last fall. A steady rise in that category represents growth in both precision and offensive awareness.
Along with his prowess as a passer, Levis is a highly regarded athlete. He led all participants, regardless of position, in Nike test rating April 30 at The Opening’s New Jersey regional event.
Dating back to the 2016 season, Levis has thrown 12 touchdowns in his past three games.
Watch highlights of Levis’ latest performance here:
Is 5-star prospect Micah Parsons primed to make an impact on both sides of the ball?
Already considered one of the 2018 recruiting cycle’s premier defensive players, there’s buzz about what Micah Parsons may be able to accomplish on offense in college. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound prospect is a beast off the edge, whether he’s attacking opponents from defensive end or linebacker, but let’s take a glance at his other duties at Harrisburg (Pa.) High.
Through three games, Parsons has rushed for 353 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is averaging 9.8 yards per carry for the Cougars, a team targeting its second straight state title game appearance.
There’s a case to make that Parsons, a former Penn State pledge, is the premier running back among high school seniors in Pennsylvania.
— Ryan Snyder (@RivalsSnyder) August 26, 2017
“He knows his priority is defense, but Micah was a running back all his life. It never left him,” his father, Terrence Parsons, told me Tuesday afternoon at Micah’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey presentation.
College football has featured several examples of standout talent making an impact on both sides of the ball. Jabrill Peppers, a 2016 Heisman finalist who played safety and linebacker at Michigan, added 55 offensive touches during his Wolverines career.
“Micah always dreamed of winning the Heisman,” Terrence said. “Unless you’ve got enormous defensive stats, you got to play a little bit of offense.”
Aside from establishing individual versatility, it’s possible his presence on offense would boost an offensive attack at the next level.
Parsons runs with power, but he’s more than just a bruiser out of the backfield. His experience at the position and football intelligence creates a formidable playmaker who can read rushing lanes, run by linebackers and run over defensive backs.
He also flashes excellent receiving abilities, which were on display June 17 at Penn State during a 7-on-7 tournament in which Parsons earned MVP honors. Parsons is smooth downfield, displaying very reliable hands any time I’ve seen him targeted.
— Luke Stampini (@LukeStampini) April 30, 2017
Considering his proven success with the football and the rare athleticism he exhibits each trip to the field, a supplemental offensive role in college doesn’t seem far-fetched.
“It’s definitely realistic,” Micah said. “A few coaches talked to me about it so we’ll see what happens.”
Penn State, Georgia and Alabama are among the programs that have addressed the possibility, according to Parsons.
Defensive focus will be at the forefront of his collegiate development next year, but don’t be surprised if the coaching staff that signs him explores adding a new element to its offensive playbook.
“If he gets the chance, he’s going to make the most of it,” Terrence said.
Nittany Lions continue to place 2019 recruiting focus on St. Louis
Penn State sent out its third scholarship to the city of St. Louis in September, extending an offer to 4-star prospect Jalani Williams on Wednesday. The 6-2, 160-pound prospect is a junior at Parkway North High School.
Last week, the Nittany Lions staff added Trinity Catholic teammates Marcus Washington and Isaiah Williams to its 2019 target board. Williams and Washington are listed No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in composite Missouri rankings, while Jalani Williams is No. 4.
Jalani Williams, who has played some quarterback for Parkway North, warrants consideration at receiver and safety. Based on initial assessment of his film, I’m inclined to lean toward defense. He is a punishing hitter and swarms to the ball with above-average speed. His length at the position is also a major plus.
Williams has tallied 24 tackles and 1 interception through five games this season, according to Rick Ulreich of STL Today. Check out his highlights from a recent 2017 matchup here:
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