Stay updated as Penn State rises toward the top of the recruiting rankings! Don’t miss the coverage from Tyler Donohue, who brings a decade of experience as a national college football reporter and AZrecruiting department staff member with a Big Ten program. Read his daily notebooks here at 7:20 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, and follow us on Twitter for the latest Nittany Lions recruiting news.
Jake Pinegar preparing to compete for Penn State kicking duties
Penn State’s annual Lasch Bash weekend (July 14-16) featured a pair of camps, family-oriented recruiting festivities and five verbal commitments in the 2018 recruiting class. Perhaps lost in the shuffle, the Nittany Lions landed one of America’s premier kicker prospects.
Jake Pinegar, a senior at Ankeny (Iowa) Centennial High School, earned a Penn State scholarship offer and committed to the program while in Happy Valley for a camp session. Reviewing the reaction of Nittany Lions fans during those following days, it was apparent his pledge may not have been appreciated as much as the others that occurred in mid-July.
This is routinely the case for special teams recruits, as they stick to a different camp circuit than positional prospects on defense or offense. As I said at the time when some questioned the use of a scholarship on this position, James Franklin needs to make sure he’s prepared to send out the right guy when Penn State is down by 2 points with only seconds remaining in a game.
Pinegar, who also emerged as a standout receiver and defensive back for Centennial, certainly looks the part.
RELATED: 2018 Penn State recruiting big board
Considered a top-10 kicker in 247Sports 2018 composite rankings, he connected on multiple field goals from 50 or more yards this season. Pinegar told me his longest conversion was from 52 yards out, while 3 of his few misses were attempts from beyond 60 yards.
Though he suffered a sprained ACL and a deep bone bruise in his non-kicking (left) leg this September, Pinegar returned to action by the end of his final prep campaign. Soon after, he received the green light from doctors to get back on the field, and he posted this impressive display of long-distance range:
— Jake Pinegar (@jpinegar10) October 3, 2017
No, this wasn’t a high-pressure attempt in front of 100,000 hostile fans while being hurried by 11 opponents … but you get the point.
With an impressive 2018 Nittany Lions recruiting class, it may be time to point toward Pingegar as a probable immediate-impact player. This became apparent Tuesday when Sean Fitz of Lions247 reported redshirt freshman kicker Alex Barbir is departing the program.
Current Penn State kicker Tyler Davis, who has enjoyed a productive college career, is a senior. This seemingly leaves the Nittany Lions with walk-on players Nick DeAngelis and Carson Landis as kicking options entering spring camp.
Pinegar reacted to this development during our Tuesday night conversation.
“Never got a chance to talk to [Barbir] that much but I wish him the best of luck wherever he ventures to next,” Pinegar said. “I planned on coming in and making an impact as much as possible anyhow.”
While Barbir’s departure signals Pinegar could push to be the starter, it doesn’t alter his mindset. His mission has always been to earn the trust of Penn State’s staff.
“It obviously opens up space for the special teams but I was working toward being the guy from Day 1 and that focus hasn’t changed,” he said.
Pinegar returns to State College this weekend for his official visit. He hosted Franklin and former Nittany Lions special teams coach Charles Huff at his home last week.
— Jake Pinegar (@jpinegar10) November 28, 2017
Penn State commitment stat tracker: Final edition
Throughout the season, we’ve provided updated season statistics for various Nittany Lions commits. Many enjoyed a dominant campaign, delivering their high school programs to meaningful postseason games.
Here’s a rundown of how things turned out for many members of the Penn State class.
(Statistics are unofficial and obtained firsthand or courtesy of MaxPreps unless otherwise noted.)
High school: Harrisburg (Pa.)
Team record: 11-1
Season stats: 31 receptions, 546 receiving yards, 11 total touchdowns
CB Keaton Ellis (2019)
High school: State College (Pa.)
Team record: 10-3
Season stats: 64 rushing yards, 163 receiving yards, 5 total touchdowns, 6 tackles, 3 pass breakups, 2 blocked kicks (missed significant portion of schedule because of thumb surgery)
High school: Oxon Hill (Pa.)
Team record: 8-5
Season stats: 61 receptions for 897 yards, 40 tackles, 8 interceptions, 15 total touchdowns
High school: Cumberland Valley (Pa.)
Team record: 10-2
Season stats: 366 rushing yards, 715 receiving yards, 15 touchdowns, 45 tackles, 4 interceptions
TE Zack Kuntz
High school: Camp Hill (Pa.)
Team record: 4-6
Season stats: 41 receptions, 1,029 yards, 10 total touchdowns
QB Will Levis
High school: Xavier (Middletown, Conn.)
Team record: 4-6
Season stats: 56 percent pass completion, 2,771 passing yards, 33 total touchdowns, 8 interceptions
CB Jordan Miner
High school: Wiregrass Ranch (Wesley Chapel, Fla.)
Team record: 9-3
Season stats: 39 tackles, 5 pass breakups, 4 interceptions, 432 rushing yards, 215 receiving yards, 10 total touchdowns
QB Taquan Roberson (2019)
High school: DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.)
Team record: 8-3 (state champion)
Season stats: 67 percent pass completion, 2,466 passing yards, 573 rushing yards, 34 total touchdowns, 5 interceptions
High school: South Brunswick (N.J.)
Team record: 12-1 (state champion)
Season stats: 43 receptions, 608 receiving yards, 13 total touchdowns
RB Ricky Slade
High school: C.D. Hylton (Woodbridge, Va.)
Team record: 9-4
Season stats: 1,942 rushing yards, 261 receiving yards, 40 total touchdowns
High school: Pennridge (Perkasie, Pa.)
Team record: 11-3
Season stats: 98 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception, 6 touchdowns
Miss any previous editions of our daily Penn State recruiting notebook? You can find them all here.