Bowl season has arrived for Penn State but plenty of the focus remains on recruiting only weeks away from an inaugural early signing period (Dec. 20-22). It’s been an interesting past week for Nittany Lions recruiting efforts, as the overall outlook has shifted due to departures from an impressive class.
Penn State, awaiting a Fiesta Bowl matchup vs. Washington, has already claimed a second consecutive double-digit win season for the first time since 2008-09. Now there is pressure on coaches to seal the deal with key priority prospect targets who remain undecided.
Where Penn State’s recruiting class ranks
Penn State is No. 5 overall in 247Sports 2018 composite class rankings, its lowest position since the 2017 season began. The Nittany Lions class is considered second best in Big Ten rankings, behind only Ohio State.
Penn State, with commitments from 20 players, features three top-100 overall recruits in recently updated composite rankings. This group is headlined by 5-star offensive talents Justin Shorter (receiver) and Ricky Slade (running back).
Latest news for Penn State football recruiting
It’s been an eventful past week for Penn State’s recruiting efforts, and not for the best of reasons.
Isheem Young, a 4-star safety from Philadelphia who committed to the Nittany Lions in July, was arrested Dec. 1 and charged in connection with the armed robbery of a convenience store. He is considered a top-5 prospect in Pennsylvania and holds 30-plus FBS offers.
After parting ways with Young, the Nittany Lions are also down one offensive line commit. Antwan Reed of Michigan reopened his recruitment Thursday night. He pledged to the program April 22 while in attendance for spring game action.
Penn State is in prime position to rebound from these developments, hosting a few marquee official visitors on campus this weekend. Defensive ends Micah Parsons and Tyreke Smith, along with offensive tackle Rasheed Walker, are expected to spend time on campus. They’ll be joined by more than 10 committed Nittany Lions recruits.
Meanwhile, Nittany Lions coaches remained active across the country with visits to various targets and pledges this week. Members of the staff spent time with recruits and their families.
— Will Levis (@will_levis) December 6, 2017
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 20 Nittany Lions commits. They are listed below in order of composite ranking.
- WR Justin Shorter, 5 stars, South Brunswick (N.J.)
- RB Ricky Slade, 5 stars, Woodbridge (Va.)
- T Nana Asiedu, 4 stars, Stafford (Va.)
- TE Zack Kuntz, 4 stars, Camp Hill (Pa.)
- DT PJ Mustipher, 4 stars, Owings Mills (Md.)
- OL Fredrick Scruggs, 4 stars, Erie (Pa.)
- TE Pat Freiermuth, 4 stars, North Andover (Mass.)
- WR Daniel George, 4 stars, Oxon Hill (Md.)
- LB Jesse Luketa, 4 stars, Erie (Pa.)
- LB Nick Tarburton, 4 stars, Perkasie (Pa.)
- CB Jordan Miner, 3 stars, Zephyrhills (Fla.)
- DT Aeneas Hawkins, 3 stars, Cincinnati
- CB Trent Gordon, 3 stars, Manvel (Texas)
- WR Shaquon Anderson-Butts, 3 stars, Harrisburg (Pa.)
- DT Judge Culpepper, 3 stars, Tampa (Fla.)
- S Isaiah Humphries, 3 stars, Sachse (Texas)
- LB Charlie Katshir, 3 stars, Mechanicsburg (Pa.)
- QB Will Levis, 3 stars, Middletown (Conn.)
- OL Bryce Effner, 3 stars, Aurora (Ill.)
- K Jake Pinegar, 3 stars, 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 looking for the right collegiate fit:
- DE Micah Parsons, 5 stars, Harrisburg (Pa.): Parsons belongs in the discussion as America’s premier defensive prospect, and bringing him back into this class following his April de-commitment 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, who is set to announce a decision Dec. 20, is also considering Georgia, Nebraska, Ohio State and Oklahoma. He will use an official visit in Happy Valley this weekend.
- T Rasheed Walker, 4 stars, Waldorf (Md.): The Nittany Lions’ competition includes Maryland, Ohio State and Virginia Tech 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 George and Mustipher. Penn State will host him for an official visit Dec. 8-10, according to Brian Dohn of 247Sports.
- WR Solomon Enis, 4 stars, Phoenix: Enis provides the size (6-4), production (2,000 receiving yards since 2016) 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. The Nittany Lions, with three receivers already on board, welcomed him to campus for an official visit Nov. 18.
- DE Jayson Oweh, 4 stars, Blairstown (N.J.): Oweh continues to attract attention from across college football, adding recent offers from Florida, Miami and Michigan. At 6-5, 236 pounds with sub-4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash, Oweh recorded 13 sacks in less than five full games as a senior. Ohio State is the primary contender here, while Alabama, Michigan and Notre Dame are attempting to make a late push. Oweh, who used an official visit at Penn State on Nov. 18, will commit Jan. 4 during the Under Armour All-America Game.
- DE Tyreke Smith, 4 stars, Cleveland: Smith has developed a strong relationship with the Nittany Lions staff and will visit Penn State again this weekend 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: 3/4 (Asiedu, Effner, Scruggs)
- DL: 3/5 (Culpepper, Hawkins, Mustipher)
- LB: 3/3 (Katshir, Luketa, Tarburton)
- CB: 2/2 (Gordon, Miner)
- S: 1/1 (Humphries)
- K: 1/1 (Pinegar)
Geographical breakdown of Penn State commits
Here is a review of Penn State’s commits by state:
- Pennsylvania: 6 (Anderson-Butts, Katshir, Kuntz, Luketa, Scruggs, Tarburton,)
- Florida: 2 (Culpepper, Miner)
- Maryland: 2 (George, Mustipher)
- New Jersey: 1 (Shorter)
- Texas: 2 (Gordon, Humphries)
- Virginia: 2 (Asiedu, Slade)
- Connecticut: 1 (Levis)
- Illinois: 1 (Effner)
- Iowa: 1 (Pinegar)
- Massachusetts: 1 (Freiermuth)
- Ohio: 1 (Hawkins)