Penn State cruises toward the 2017 season with one of college football’s most impressive 2018 recruiting classes. The group features 23 prospects, expanding tremendously this summer with 10 commitments since July 6.
Though the exact total of remaining available scholarships in this cycle remains unclear, they’ve certainly become limited. Nittany Lions coach James Franklin and his staff must balance simple mathematics with roster needs during the next five months leading up to National Signing Day.
Penn State continues to display an expanded recruiting reach following its Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl appearance. The current Nittany Lions class includes players who attend high school in 12 different states.
Where Penn State’s recruiting class ranks
Penn State hasn’t fallen out of the top five in composite class rankings this year, securing the No. 1 position earlier this cycle. The Nittany Lions are now No. 3 overall. Ohio State and Texas ― in that order ― are the only programs with a higher-rated collection of 2018 talent.
Penn State’s current composite class score (272.36) is its best in the modern recruiting era. It would have placed Penn State eighth overall in class rankings last signing day. The Nittany Lions are poised to challenge their results of 2006 (No. 7 overall) for the program’s top-ranked class this century.
The Nittany Lions claim a comfortable cushion at No. 2 in Big Ten class rankings. Penn State and Ohio State hold 27 combined blue-chip commitments (4- or 5-star talent). The conference’s other 12 programs claim 23 total blue-chip pledges.
Latest news for Penn State football recruiting
The news cycle has slowed down a bit for Penn State following a flurry of commitments during recent weeks. However, a couple developments this week may ultimately impact the program’s pursuit of linemen.
Coveted junior college offensive tackle T.J. Bradley announced his commitment to Maryland last weekend. The 6-foot-9, 295-pound Lackawanna College (Pa.) prospect visited Penn State multiple times and earned an offer in April, but there became some doubt whether he would be a fit in the Nittany Lions class.
A relative newcomer to football, this 21-year-old will bring tremendous upside and three seasons of collegiate eligibility to College Park next winter. His decision seemingly leaves 4-star OT Rasheed Walker (Waldorf, Md.) as the lone uncommitted Penn State target at this position. The Nittany Lions already own three top-50 tackle pledges this cycle, leading all teams.
Meanwhile, we now know when 4-star defensive end Jayson Oweh will announce his college commitment. The 6-5, 236-pound Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.) senior previously revealed plans to declare his intentions at the Under Armour All-America Game, though a date for the event wasn’t known until Wednesday.
All-America Game officials cleared things up via a press release. This annual showcase is set for Thursday, Jan. 4, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Kickoff will take place at 6 p.m., broadcast on ESPN2.
Penn State 2018 offers by the numbers
- Reported offers: 154
- 5-star offers: 13
- 4-star offers: 97
- In-state recruits offered: 13
- California recruits offered: 5
- Florida recruits offered: 20
- Georgia recruits offered: 9
- New Jersey recruits offered: 9
- Ohio recruits offered: 10
- Texas recruits offered: 13
Penn State football commits for 2018
There currently are 23 Nittany Lions commits. They are listed below in order of composite ranking.
- WR Justin Shorter, 5-star, South Brunswick (N.J.)
- RB Ricky Slade, 4-star, Woodbridge (Va.)
- OL Nana Asiedu, 4-star, Stafford (Va.)
- TE Zack Kuntz, 4-star, Camp Hill (Pa.)
- DT PJ Mustipher, 4-star, Owings Mills (Md.)
- S Isheem Young, 4-star, Philadelphia (Pa.)
- DE Dorian Hardy, 4-star, Paramus (N.J.)
- TE Pat Freiermuth, 4-star, North Andover (Mass.)
- OL Fredrick Scruggs, 4-star, Erie (Pa.)
- WR Daniel George, 4-star, Oxon Hill (Md.)
- DT Aeneas Hawkins, 4-star, Cincinnati
- LB Jesse Luketa, 4-star, Erie (Pa.)
- CB Jordan Miner, 4-star, Zephyrhills (Fla.)
- OL Antwan Reed, 3-star, Muskegon (Mich.)
- ATH Shaquon Anderson-Butts, 3-star, Harrisburg (Pa.)
- LB Nick Tarburton, 3-star, Perkasie (Pa.)
- S Isaiah Humphries, 3-star, Sachse (Texas)
- CB Trent Gordon, 3-star, Manvel (Texas)
- DT Judge Culpepper, 3-star, Tampa (Fla.)
- LB Charlie Katshir, 3-star, Mechanicsburg (Pa.)
- OL Bryce Effner, 3-star, Aurora (Ill.)
- QB Will Levis, 3-star, Middletown (Conn.)
- K Jake Pinegar, 2-star, Ankeny (Iowa)
5 top uncommitted Penn State targets
The Nittany Lions continue to search for more talent in the 2018 recruiting cycle. Here are five notable targets still searching for the right collegiate fit.
DE Micah Parsons, 5-star, Harrisburg (Pa.)
The in-state standout will see Penn State in action at least once this season, though it will occur during his official visit to Ohio State. Parsons belongs in the discussion as America’s premier defensive prospect, and bringing him back into this class will be a difficult task. The long-awaited enrollment of freshman defensive end Damion Barber ― his friend and former Harrisburg teammate ― could help the cause.
OT Rasheed Walker, 4-star, Waldorf (Md.)
The aforementioned Rasheed Walker would solidify this offensive line group’s elite status. The Nittany Lions face a few regional threats, such as Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, in the pursuit of this 6-6, 300-pound blocker. James Franklin has built a strong recruiting track record in Maryland, most recently reeling in commitments from 4-star talents Daniel George and PJ Mustipher.
WR Solomon Enis, 4-star, Phoenix
Solomon Enis provides the size (6-4), production (1,100 receiving yards last season) and pedigree (his father is former Penn State running back Curtis Enis) college coaches covet. Several Pac-12 schools are in contention to keep Enis near the West Coast, but he’ll follow up a spring game visit to Happy Valley in September. Enis plans to use an official visit for the Nittany Lions’ game against Indiana.
DE Jayson Oweh, 4-star, Blairstown (N.J.)
If Jayson Oweh is the fall-back option in case Parsons elects to go elsewhere, it’s a tremendous Plan B. Some would argue Oweh carries perhaps more upside than many defensive linemen ranked ahead of him. Hitting the field at 6-5, 236 pounds with sub-4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash, he is primed to explode in 2017 during just his second season of high school football. His decision is down to Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State.
WR Jahan Dotson, 4-star, Nazareth (Pa.)
This recruitment lacks clarity as Jahan Dotson doesn’t often update his outlook and there haven’t been a ton of recent visits to assess. He initially intended to announce a decision this summer, but the season is just about here and a resolution doesn’t seem imminent. Dotson missed the second half of his junior campaign with two broken bones in his right leg. Perhaps a healthy, productive September can clear up any potential concerns that may exist among college football staffs.
Position breakdown for Penn State commits
Here’s a breakdown of the number of commits by position and how many are projected by Land of 10 to be signed:
- QB: 1/1 (Levis)
- RB: 1/1 (Slade)
- TE: 2/2 (Freiermuth, Kuntz)
- WR: 3/4 (Anderson-Butts, George, Shorter)
- OL: 4/5 (Asiedu, Effner, Reed, Scruggs)
- DL: 4/5 (Culpepper, Hardy, Hawkins, Mustipher)
- LB: 3/3 (Katshir, Luketa, Tarburton)
- CB: 2/2 (Gordon, Miner)
- S: 2/2 (Humphries, Young)
- K: 1/1 (Pinegar)
Geographical breakdown of Penn State commits
Here’s a review of Penn State’s commits by state:
- Pennsylvania: 7 (Anderson-Butts, Katshir, Kuntz, Luketa, Scruggs, Tarburton, Young)
- Florida: 2 (Culpepper, Miner)
- Maryland: 2 (George, Mustipher)
- New Jersey: 2 (Hardy, Shorter)
- Texas: 2 (Gordon, Humphries)
- Virginia: 2 (Asiedu, Slade)
- Connecticut: 1 (Levis)
- Illinois: 1 (Effner)
- Iowa: 1 (Pinegar)
- Massachusetts: 1 (Freiermuth)
- Michigan: 1 (Reed)
- Ohio: 1 (Hawkins)