When it comes to college football roster development, recruiting classes essentially provide stepping-stones toward assembling perennial championship contenders. With an exceptional 2018 class filling up, Penn State coach James Franklin is putting those pieces together with a level of efficiency folks haven’t seen in Happy Valley during the modern recruiting era.
The Nittany Lions staff is well underway with efforts to repeat this success on National Signing Day 2019. This Tuesday and next Tuesday, we’ll place the spotlight on prospects who’ve landed on the program’s target board entering their junior season of high school. The Nittany Lions are still looking for commitment No. 1 of a 2019 cycle packed with potential.
Next week, we’ll address the defensive names to know. However, let’s start with an overview of things on offense.
A few notes before our positional break down:
- The list is based on known scholarship offers extended by Penn State, according to 247Sports.
- Several targets already have announced commitments to other schools. We’re still including them here.
- Prospects designated “athletes” in 247Sports 2019 composite rankings will be featured alongside defensive recruits.
Committed Elsewhere: Johnson (Texas)
Need-to-Know Info: Duggan, Roberson and Shrader each have camped at Penn State since June. Duggan earned an offer during his visit, as did Roberson, who is teammates with Penn State safety target Ronnie Hickman at DePaul Catholic. Shrader looked really sharp during a July 16 camp, where he received consistent attention from Nittany Lions offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. The 6-5, 200-pound Charlotte Christian standout is the most impressive 2019 East Coast passer I’ve seen in person, and he added an Alabama offer two days later.
Closing Statement: “I’m similar to the quarterbacks Penn State has right now. What they do in the offense — RPOs (run-pass option), extending plays with mobility and throwing the ball downfield — is everything that’s in my game.” ― Max Duggan
Running backs (3)
Committed Elsewhere: N/A
Need-to-Know Info: Houston’s mother, Karen, is a Penn State graduate. His uncle, Steve, is a season-ticket holder. Penn State was the first program to offer him following a freshman season that featured 1,846 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. Houston is a speedster ― he ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash July 14 in State College ― but Robinson is even quicker. He finished the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds during a June 16 Nittany Lions camp, receiving an offer that day along with two St. John’s College High School teammates. Ford is the top-ranked member of this group, listed No. 4 overall among running backs in composite rankings. He traveled to Penn State with North Stafford teammate Nana Asiedu for the April 22 spring game, where Asiedu issued his commitment.
Closing Statement: “When you’re young, you follow your family’s lead. I’ve heard about Penn State since I was young, so that’s where I’ve wanted to go. Now it’s actually possible.” ― Jordan Houston
On the Board: Kam Brown (Colleyville, Texas), Dean Engram (Washington, D.C.), DeMarcco Hellams (Hyattsville, Md.), Arjei Henderson (Richmond, Texas), John Metchie (Brampton, Ontario), Kendrell Scurry (Thompson’s Station, Tenn.), TJ Sheffield (Thompson’s Station, Tenn.)
Committed Elsewhere: Brown (UCLA), Henderson (Oregon), Sheffield (Tennessee)
Need-to-Know Info: Penn State has cast a wide net at receiver in the 2019 class after locating three 2018 commits within Big Ten territory. Engram is the son of former Nittany Lions star Bobby Engram, who was recognized as college football’s best receiver in 1994 when he received the Biletnikoff Award. The Engrams were on campus June 17 for Penn State’s 7-on-7 tournament. Scurry and Sheffield are high school teammates, and they shared the same recruiting class before Scurry de-committed from Tennessee. Metchie, who left his home in Canada to attend St. James School (Sharpsburg, Md.), is close friends with 2018 Nittany Lions commit and fellow Canadian Jesse Luketa.
Closing Statement: “Coach [Josh] Gattis is amazing with receivers. I like the way he shapes his receivers and teaches them techniques. He helps build big-time players at the position.” ― John Metchie
Tight ends (2)
Committed Elsewhere: Stogner (Oklahoma)
Need-to-Know Info: Penn State offered Henry and Stogner during a 24-hour span in May, and they remain the only prospects on the board to this point. The Nittany Lions claim commitments from two top-10 2018 tight ends: Pat Freiermuth and Zack Kuntz. Arkansas aims to make Henry the third brother in his family to become a member of the Razorbacks football program. His oldest brother, Hunter, is a Los Angeles Chargers tight end.
Closing Statement: “They’re definitely a program on the rise after that great season last year. I wasn’t really expecting to get offered by them but it’s really cool, especially considering the success they’ve had at the tight end position.” ― Hudson Henry
Offensive linemen (9)
On the Board: Logan Brown (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Quinn Carroll (Minneapolis), Darrian Dalcourt (Baltimore), Devontae Dobbs (Belleville, Mich.), Trevor Keegan (Crystal Lake, Ill.), John Olmstead (Metuchen, N.J.), William Putnam (Tampa, Fla.), Nolan Rumler (Akron, Ohio), Caedan Wallace (Princeton, N.J.)
Committed Elsewhere: Rumler (Michigan)
Need-to-Know Info: Eight of these nine targets are listed as offensive tackles in composite rankings. The lone exception is Wallace, a guard prospect who played with Nittany Lions freshman Fred Hansard at The Hun School. He visited State College for the 2017 spring game. So did Olmstead, a fellow 4-star New Jersey lineman. Putnam practices with 2018 Penn State commit Judge Culpepper in Plant High’s trenches. Dobbs is one of just two 2019 offensive players offered by Penn State presently rated a 5-star in composite rankings, along with Oregon receiver pledge Arjei Henderson. He journeyed to campus in late July.
Closing Statement: “I grew up watching Penn State so it’s a big offer for me. I think I could play there. I’m a run blocker and that’s my favorite thing to do. Penn State really seems to love running the ball, so that’s appealing to me. That’s my style of offense.” ― John Olmstead