Penn State continued its strong start to the 2017 season Saturday, Sept. 16, with a 56-0 victory over Georgia State at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions now have won 12 of 13 games dating to a 2016 Big Ten championship run, and momentum also can be found on the 2018 recruiting trail. Coach James Franklin carries 23 commitments.
It’s a balanced collection of prospects, ranging from in-state standouts to elite talents from far beyond Pennsylvania borders. Penn State is on track to sign one of the finest recruiting classes in program history, and a few more blue-chip pieces could soon further enhance this group.
Here is a review of where things stand with this impressive Nittany Lions class, along with the latest notable developments.
Where Penn State’s recruiting class ranks
Penn State sustains its spot at No. 3 overall in composite class rankings. The Nittany Lions have yet to fall out of the top 5 this year. The team spent significant time atop the rankings, but Ohio State overtook everyone in May and remains at No. 1. Texas surged to No. 2 with a strong summer.
The Nittany Lions carry 13 blue-chip prospects in the class, representing the fourth-highest total in this recruiting cycle. It’s a group that features nine athletes considered top-10 players at their position and includes recruits from 12 states.
Latest news for Penn State football recruiting
There is plenty of focus on three elite defensive ends as the Nittany Lions move closer toward National Signing Day. Penn State is among top contenders for Jayson Oweh, Micah Parsons and Tyreke Smith, and this week shed further light on where things stand with this group.
Parsons, a former Penn State commit who is considered a top-5 overall prospect in 2018 composite rankings, received his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey on Tuesday afternoon. Afterward, he and his father spoke with Land of 10 about a reestablished relationship with the Nittany Lions, and Parsons returned to Beaver Stadium last weekend. Penn State could be closing in on a reunion, although Georgia, Nebraska and Ohio State are other schools mentioned as possible landing spots.
Oweh also discussed his recruitment with Land of 10 this week, and it’s clear he enjoyed a game-day experience last weekend at Penn State. The Nittany Lions will welcome him to campus again for an official visit Nov. 18, and this shapes up as a tight battle between Penn State and Ohio State.
Meanwhile, Penn State pledge Jake Pinegar updated his health status during a conversation with Land of 10 on Wednesday. The Centennial Ankeny (Iowa) star suffered a sprained ACL and deep bone bruise in his non-kicking leg last Friday, but he expects to return to the field within a month. He’s exhibited field-goal range from beyond 50 yards this season.
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 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.)
- T 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
- 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.)
- WR 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, 3-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.): Parsons belongs in the discussion as America’s premier defensive prospect and bringing him back into this class could be a difficult task. The Nittany Lions extended an offer during his freshman season, and he committed to Penn State before the end of his sophomore year. Parsons also is considering schools such as Georgia, Nebraska and Ohio State.
- T Rasheed Walker, 4-star, Waldorf (Md.): The Nittany Lions’ in-conference competition includes Maryland and Ohio State in the pursuit of this 6-foot-6, 300-pound blocker. Franklin has built a strong recruiting track record in Maryland, most recently reeling in commitments from 4-star talents Daniel George and PJ Mustipher. It remains unclear whether Penn State will have room for a fifth offensive lineman.
- WR Solomon Enis, 4-star, Phoenix: 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 expressed plans this summer to use an official visit for the Nittany Lions game against Indiana.
- DE Jayson Oweh, 4-star, Blairstown (N.J.): If Oweh is the fallback option in case Parsons elects to go elsewhere, it’s a tremendous Plan B. Hitting the field at 6-5, 236 pounds with sub-4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash, he opened the 2017 season Sept. 16 with a 4-sack performance. Ohio State is the primary contender here, while Florida and Notre Dame also are in the mix. Oweh will commit Jan. 4 during the Under Armour All-America Game.
- DE Tyreke Smith, 4-star, Cleveland: Smith has developed a strong relationship with the Nittany Lions staff and is expected to visit Penn State multiple times before announcing his decision at the Under Armour All-America Game. Along with Penn State, this 6-3, 260-pound playmaker is considering offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon and Southern California.
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 is 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)