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Penn State target Jack Lamb aims for preseason pledge, could follow parents to Happy Valley
Coveted linebacker recruit Jack Lamb has become one of the most impressive prospects in California, but he has family roots in Happy Valley. His parents, Dan and Erin, grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Penn State. Erin was a member of the Nittany Lions swim team.
The entire family traveled to Penn State on April 7 to give Lamb his first look at the university. They took advantage of a photo opportunity, snapping a picture of the football recruit next to a State College mainstay (shown above).
“Seeing the Nittany Lion statue was really cool,” he said. “You always see it on TV during games, but you don’t realize it’s right in the middle of campus. It’s historic and I got to stand next to it, which is awesome since I grew up a Penn State fan.”
Yes, that’s right, despite his West Coast upbringing — Lamb was born in Portland, Ore. — he maintains a passion for Penn State football.
After all, Lamb is named after former Nittany Lions linebacker and team captain Jack Ham, who earned induction into the college football and pro football halls of fame. The rising senior is considered quite a player at the position himself, listed No. 8 nationally among inside linebackers in 247Sports’ 2018 composite rankings.
“It’s great to have this chance to carry on that legacy of Linebacker U, and I think it would be awesome to become a part of it,” Lamb said. “Obviously my dad couldn’t have predicted this when he named me Jack. To have this background with my parents going there and the Jack Ham thing, it’s a really cool situation that I’m in.”
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Great Oak (Temecula, Calif.) High School product placed Penn State on his list of five finalists last week. The Nittany Lions face competition from Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA and Washington.
— jack lamb (@JackLamb_) May 29, 2017
Notre Dame is the only member of this collection that hasn’t hosted him at least once, though that will soon change. Lamb is scheduled to visit South Bend, Ind., on June 23.
Following that trip, he will attempt to return to each finalist this summer. That may be a difficult feat to pull off, but Lamb would like to announce his commitment before the season.
He isn’t restricting himself to this time frame in case he needs more time. Lamb, who carries more than 20 scholarship offers, will utilize the inaugural early signing period (Dec. 20-22) and enroll at the school of his choice in January.
Penn State leads the 247Sports crystal ball, as 89 percent of predictions have him landing in Happy Valley. That includes the projection I placed this week.
While many recruits shed their childhood college football fandom, Lamb still considers himself a Nittany Lions supporter. Family legacy obviously plays a pivotal role here, and he was pleasantly surprised by Penn State’s conference title run in 2016.
“I thought it was amazing,” Lamb said. “After all that program has been through, to see it come back and be a success story was pretty special. They were the No. 5 team in the nation, and in my opinion they should have gone to the playoffs.”
Lamb, who tallied 117 tackles — 18 for loss — and 4 sacks as a junior, routinely communicates with Nittany Lions defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Brent Pry. He said Penn State envisions his future at outside linebacker, where rare range could help him dominate.
“I bring a lot of versatility with the ability to move inside or outside,” Lamb said. “I can cover running backs and cover slots, and be a big contributor to the pass defense. In run defense, I’m a sideline-to-sideline player who can get out and stop sweeps and tosses. As I develop further, I think I’ll be able to contribute a lot inside, too, on power and counter plays.”
He can expect more Penn State recruiting talk later this month at The Opening, a prospect showcase held June 28-July 3 in Beaverton, Ore., at Nike’s world headquarters. Lamb is joined on the roster by Nittany Lions commits Justin Fields, Justin Shorter and Ricky Slade.
Nittany Lions extend offer to freshman running back Jalen Berger
James Franklin joined a growing list of college coaches who’ve opted not to wait before jumping into the recruitment of 2020 New Jersey recruit Jalen Berger. The 6-0, 175-pound prospect spent Saturday in State College, competing in a team-orchestrated camp. He returned home with another Power 5 offer.
— Jalen Berger (@BergerKesha) June 4, 2017
Berger became a key offensive figure for Garden State powerhouse Don Bosco Prep during his freshman season. He gave the attack a major boost, emerging as a force in the ground game.
Following the departure of Elite 11 quarterback Tommy DeVito, an incoming freshman at Syracuse, Berger can expect a substantial increase in carries this fall. A small sample size has been enough to turn heads in college recruiting offices across the Big Ten.
Penn State joins a pursuit that already includes Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State and Rutgers. Berger is a teammate of fellow Franklin target Tyler Friday, a 4-star defensive lineman.
Defensive tackle priority PJ Mustipher taking his time
The Nittany Lions welcomed 4-star Maryland defensive tackle PJ Mustipher to State College on May 20, making quite an impression on the 6-5, 290-pound lineman. He spent much of the day alongside fellow defensive line target Jayson Oweh and Penn State linebacker pledge Nick Tarburton. A major shift in the 247Sports crystal ball quickly followed.
Penn State is a 79-percent favorite for his commitment in the aftermath of 10 consecutive predictions. Still, despite solid momentum for the Nittany Lions, nothing appears imminent, according to a report from Ahmed Ghafir of 247Sports.
“I have a great relationship with every coach that I talk to — Penn State, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame,” Mustipher told Ghafir. “I just want to take more visits and get my family more acquainted with the coaching staffs. That’s what I really want to do. Whenever it feels right, I’ll make a decision — I don’t have a timetable.”
There was some speculation that a decision could come before the start of summer, but that no longer looks realistic. Mustipher, considered the No. 9 defensive tackle in 247Sports’ composite rankings, will join Lamb and the aforementioned trio of Penn State commits at The Opening.
What y'all think?😆 pic.twitter.com/KtGsqo1BYX
— Pj Mustipher (@KingPJ55) May 20, 2017