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Elite 2020 RB Chris Tyree talks Penn State visit and offer
The Nittany Lions welcomed one of America’s most acclaimed rising sophomore running backs to campus this past weekend. Chris Tyree, who recently completed his freshman year at Thomas Dale (Chester, Va.) High School, added Penn State to a list of 12 scholarship offers before returning home.
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound prospect traveled to Happy Valley alongside his father. They spent Saturday afternoon exploring campus and meeting members of Penn State’s staff, then Tyree hit the field on Sunday for camp action.
“I knew for sure I was going to have to earn it up there, and that’s what was in the back of my mind all day,” he told Land of 10. “No matter how good things were going, I needed to stay hungry and not let up.”
This effort paid off when James Franklin requested Tyree in his office at the conclusion of camp. The Nittany Lions coach presented a scholarship offer to a 2020 running back for the second straight weekend, following a June 3 offer to New Jersey recruit Jalen Berger.
— Chris Tyree4️⃣ (@chris_tyree4) June 11, 2017
Franklin made it clear Tyree is a long-term investment for his staff.
“He told me it’s going to be hard to say ‘no’ because of how much interest they’ll be showing me,” Tyree said. “Now that they’ve actually given me a scholarship, that’s amazing.”
Penn State enters a recruitment that already includes Power 5 programs such as Duke, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Marshall was the first team to offer Tyree in eighth grade, and he landed several scholarships before his first varsity snap.
Tyree initially played slot receiver last season, spending approximately the first month of fall running routes. However, when two upperclassmen running backs suffered injuries, his duties shifted to the backfield.
“That gave me an opportunity to show what I can do at running back,” he said. “After that, they kept running with me.”
Tyree erupted for 120 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in an Oct. 3 victory over Prince George High, according to MaxPreps. It was the first of three 100-yard performances that month, and he ultimately led Thomas Dale High in rushing yards (716) and yards per carry (7.1), while tallying 8 total touchdowns.
“A lot of coaches say I’m dangerous in space, and I definitely use speed to my advantage,” Tyree said. “I can break a long run at any time.”
He showcased that quickness Sunday in State College. Tyree completed two 40-yard dash attempts in 4.44 and 4.46 seconds.
Continued development as a prep player will dictate which position he plays in college. Tyree expressed confidence in his ability to flourish at running back, receiver and kick returner. Since he spent most of his youth football days taking handoffs, Tyree is most comfortable as a ball carrier.
He worked under the direction of Nittany Lions running backs coach Charles Huff on Sunday.
“He seems like a great coach and the drills we worked on are made to apply in the game,” Tyree said. “While I was going through those drills, I could definitely picture myself doing the same things in a game, and I really liked that.”
Huff is set to benefit from the arrival of another Virginia running back — 4-star recruit Ricky Slade — next year. Penn State has quite a history with runners from the state, including 1,000-yard rushers Tony Hunt and Evan Royster.
“They definitely talked a lot about Virginia players coming up to Happy Valley,” Tyree said.
When asked for his overall assessment of State College following those first 30 hours or so on campus, he mentioned the positive vibes that surround Franklin’s squad.
“One thing that’s unique is everything flows through the football team because of all the success they’ve had,” Tyree said. “It’s obvious that town loves the program. It’s definitely a football school.”
He will attempt to return to Beaver Stadium this fall for a live look at the Nittany Lions. At his current rate, Tyree could carry more than 20 offers by then.
Penn State extends offer to 2019 Cincinnati DT Jowon Briggs
The NCAA’s spring evaluation period ended June 1, but Penn State is still busy assembling its 2019 target board. That outlook now includes 4-star Ohio defensive tackle Jowon Briggs, according to Walnut Hills (Cincinnati) High football coach Gerry Beauchamp.
Briggs, a 6-2, 275-pound lineman, is considered the No. 5 prospect at his position in 247Sports’ 2019 rankings. His offer sheet also features Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
An offer from the Nittany Lions increasingly validates early hype surrounding the rising junior recruit. Briggs is a rare underclassman selection to compete this summer at The Opening, an invite-only player showcase held in Beaverton, Ore., at Nike’s world headquarters.
Here are highlights from his performance at The Opening’s Cleveland regional camp in April:
Nittany Lions QB target Jace Ruder set to tour colleges
We dedicated about 1,200 words earlier Tuesday breaking down the latest developments in Penn State’s search for a 2018 quarterback commit. Jace Ruder, a fast-rising 3-star recruit from Norton High in Kansas, was part of the conversation.
Considered the No. 17 dual-threat talent in 247Sports’ composite rankings, he is the focus of recent efforts for programs across the country. Penn State made him its first official quarterback target since Justin Fields‘ June 6 de-commitment by offering this past Saturday, according to Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports.
The Nittany Lions ultimately may be late to the party for this 6-3, 205-pound passer, who has expansive travel plans in place this week. He is scheduled to spend time at Florida State, Georgia and North Carolina, and each have already offered.
Ruder, who tallied 2,344 offensive yards and 30 total touchdowns in 2016, is expected to wrap up the trip with a three-day stay in Chapel Hill, N.C., according to Wiltfong. The former Tulsa commit could be tempted to issue another pledge during or immediately after this whirlwind tour.
If he does, Penn State will be forced to focus on other options. However, should Ruder remain uncommitted heading into the summer, expect Franklin and Nittany Lions offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead to diligently pursue a campus visit to State College.