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Penn State target Jayson Oweh talks senior season, recruitment
New Jersey defensive end Jayson Oweh is among the most compelling prospects you’ll find in the 2018 recruiting cycle. As I detailed in October, his projected ceiling is perhaps higher than any other player at the position.
Oweh, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound senior at Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.), didn’t begin playing football in high school until 2016. The game film from last fall and an extremely impressive offseason camp circuit created interest across college coaching staffs, resulting in more than 20 scholarship offers before summer break.
He approached his senior season with several Power 5 programs in pursuit, while Miami and Michigan are among those that entered the mix this autumn. Oweh, who visited Penn State and Ohio State in September, just finished his second and final prep campaign.
Increased expectations were in place this season and Oweh arguably surpassed them. He had 47 tackles — 8 for loss — and 13 sacks in less than five full games, limited because of a high ankle sprain.
His highlights are below:
Oweh’s dominant play provided increased confidence in his abilities to become an impact player at the next level of competition.
“I’ve learned that I’m just scratching the surface of my potential,” he said Thursday. “With more concentrated development and coaching I can be the best D-end in the country.”
Blair Academy coach Jim Saylor believes this is only the beginning of a long, productive football career.
“His upside is just tremendous,” Saylor said in September. “He’s in a program where we get 10 hours of practice per week, and he has to practice offense and defense. When he gets to a college program and has 3 hours each day just to focus on defensive end, it’s going to be special. He’s like a flower that hasn’t even bloomed yet.”
Oweh’s ascension on the field has been matched by a rapid recruiting process.
He entered the season focused on Ohio State and Penn State ahead of other universities. This remains the case.
“I would say that PSU and OSU are still up front,” he said.
However, an October offer from Michigan created a new wrinkle in this recruitment. Oweh will visit Ann Arbor on Nov. 25 when the Wolverines host Ohio State.
“Michigan is definitely a game changer and I look forward to seeing what it’s all about,” he said.
One week prior to that trip, Oweh plans to use an official visit to Penn State. It will be his fifth trip to campus this year, and the second for a game. He’ll accompany his parents for a weekend at Penn State, watching the Nittany Lions play Nebraska on Nov. 18.
“I’ll be looking out for how [defensive line coach Sean] Spencer rotates his line,” Oweh said. “Also, just if I feel at home and welcomed.”
A long-term priority for the Penn State staff, he plans to announce a commitment Jan. 4 at the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando, Fla. Oweh and fellow Nittany Lions defensive end target Tyreke Smith intend to reveal their collegiate choices during the event.
What message are Penn State coaches attempting to deliver during these upcoming weeks?
“Basically that I can play right away and be developed on and off the field at PSU,” Oweh said. “Also, that they were the first school to believe in me so they know what I am.”
He hears from Penn State commits Shaquon Anderson-Butts, Aeneas Hawkins and Jesse Luketa about joining a Nittany Lions recruiting class listed No. 3 overall in 247Sports composite rankings. Meanwhile, Ohio State pledges Brenton Cox and Jeremy Ruckert have been in contact on behalf of college football’s top-ranked recruiting class.
While Big Ten teams loom large in this recruitment, Oweh is leaving the door open for exploration elsewhere prior to his final decision.
“I might visit other schools before my commitment,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to Notre Dame the first week of December I believe.”
Nittany Lions commit Jesse Luketa advances in All-America voting
Future Penn State linebacker Jesse Luketa is one step closer toward participating in the Under Armour All-America Game. The Mercyhurst Prep (Erie, Pa.) senior secured a spot in the semifinals of a 64-player bracket, narrowly edging Oklahoma linebacker commit Brian Asamoah during third-round voting:
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) November 9, 2017
Luketa (6-3, 235) pledged to Penn State in February. He became a prized Power 5 target following his relocation from hometown Ottawa, Ontario.
Recognized as a Nittany Lions recruiting class leader among his peers, Luketa needs to win just one more round of voting to secure his spot in the nationally televised showcase. He takes on TCU receiver commit Tevailance Hunt next, as voting begins here Friday at 1 p.m.
Polls remain open until Friday, Nov. 17, and both semifinal winners will claim the final two spots on a talent-laden All-America Game roster. Luketa aims to join four fellow Penn State pledges in Orlando: defensive tackle PJ Mustipher, running back Ricky Slade, and receivers Shaquon Anderson-Butts and Justin Shorter.
The game projects as a must-view event for Penn State fans. Aside from witnessing soon-to-be Nittany Lions in action, this group could be joined by Oweh and/or Smith before the game ends.
Luketa, who will enroll early at Penn State in January, is under way with a playoff run at Mercyhurst Prep. He’s tallied 76 tackles — 7 for loss — 4 sacks, 3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles and 8 total touchdowns through 10 games.
View Luketa’s 2017 season highlights here: