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Penn State commit Jake Pinegar returns from injury, displays elite field goal range
We reported two weeks ago the Sept. 15 knee injury Penn State commit Jake Pinegar faced wasn’t as severe as initially feared. Considered a top-5 kicker recruit in 247Sports’ composite rankings, the Ankeny Centennial (Iowa) High School senior suffered a sprained ACL and a deep bone bruise in his non-kicking (left) leg.
Doctors also diagnosed a slightly torn meniscus, though Pinegar explained “that could be from whenever and it doesn’t affect me.” The immediate concern was a possible torn ACL, which would have effectively ended his final prep campaign and cast doubt on his ability to arrive in Happy Valley with full health.
Instead, Pinegar entered a physical rehabilitation regiment and put his timetable for a return to game action at “3 or 4 weeks.” He now appears primed to meet the front end of those expectations.
Pinegar is on track to play Friday night when Centennial hosts Ames, he told me during a Tuesday morning discussion.
“Feeling pretty good,” Pinegar said. “I’ll be kicking this week.”
It remains to be seen how much of an impact Pinegar will make beyond special teams, at least immediately upon his return. He is among the program’s primary playmakers at defensive back and receiver.
Confidence is always key for any athlete returning from a physical setback, though that shouldn’t be an issue here. Pinegar demonstrated his current state Monday afternoon at the end of Centennial’s practice session.
He drilled a 75-yard kick off a field-goal holder. That’s right… 75 yards. And here’s proof:
— Jake Pinegar (@jpinegar10) October 3, 2017
While this wasn’t a live-action attempt with opposing rushers and the timing of a snap and hold, it reinforces the long-distance range that makes Pinegar a special prospect at his position. His power could prove to be a valuable weapon for Penn State.
He drilled a 50-yard field goal attempt earlier this season:
— Dan Holm (@danmholm) August 26, 2017
Pinegar pledged to Penn State on July 16 after attending a Nittany Lions camp on campus.
Lions DB pledge Jordan Miner continues to make a major offensive impact
Jordan Miner is among Penn State’s most impressive defensive commits in the 2018 class, but he’s been an offensive force for Wiregrass Ranch (Tampa, Fla.). The 6-foot-1, 183-pound prospect established career-highs for single-season rushing yards and receiving yards through just four games of his senior campaign, according to MaxPreps, and delivered again in Game No. 5 on Monday night.
He helped the Bulls remain unbeaten, scoring twice in a 21-14 victory over Sickles. The game was initially scheduled for Sept. 15, but the arrival of Hurricane Irma postponed it, resulting in a rare Monday high school matchup.
Miner tallied 95 yards and 2 touchdowns on only 7 offensive touches. He continued to build on career-best totals, catching 3 passes for 45 yards and rushing 4 times for 50 yards.
His first score occurred late in the first half, as he sped past an opposing defensive back en route to a 38-yard touchdown reception:
Scoring! Wiregrass ties it 7-7 with :30 in half Sessums 38 yards to Jordan Miner. PAT Caleb Prince pic.twitter.com/923ZPQN5Lv
— Darek Sharp (@DarekSharp) October 2, 2017
Miner made a second-half return trip to the end zone. He accepted a snap at quarterback and faked a handoff to his teammate before surging 29 yards for another touchdown:
Wiregrass offense stays woke. Miner goes 29 yards out of the wildcat. It's 13-7 early 3rd. Sickles' Brandon Davis blocked PAT pic.twitter.com/hJEaA7G0kL
— Darek Sharp (@DarekSharp) October 3, 2017
The burst and open-field agility showcased in these plays presents how dangerous Miner can be with the football. He previously explained the Penn State staff has discussed his potential in special teams roles, and perhaps that will include consideration as a returner.
Miner’s 7 touchdowns through five games represent another personal-best mark in a single season. Defensively, he’s totaled 2 interceptions and nearly 20 tackles. Penn State picked up his commitment July 6, beating out other contenders such as North Carolina, Oregon and Tennessee.
Penn State target Jayson Oweh sets official visit to SEC territory
New Jersey defensive end Jayson Oweh publicly trimmed his focus to three programs — Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State — this summer, but he expressed plans to explore alternative universities during our Sept. 18 conversation. Florida, one of the schools he mentioned then, is now locked in for an official visit.
Oweh plans to spend time in Gainesville during the weekend of Nov. 25, when the Gators host Florida State, according to Bill Kurelic of 247Sports. It’s an opportunity to learn more about his most recent offer, while attending one of college football’s marquee rivalry games.
He already used an official visit to Ohio State on Sept. 9, when Oweh saw the Buckeyes suffer a loss to Oklahoma. Along with Florida, Penn State is also securely situated in his travel itinerary. The Nittany Lions welcome him back to Happy Valley on Nov. 18, coinciding with the team’s regular-season home finale against Nebraska.
It will be his fifth trip to Penn State since March. He last journeyed to campus Sept. 16 alongside Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.) coach Jim Saylor, who played college football with James Franklin.
“Oh yeah, they love him up there,” Saylor said of the Nittany Lions staff after that game-day visit.
Notre Dame is also in the mix for an official visit, though one has yet to be scheduled. Oweh shared last month he hopes to use all five official visits before a Jan. 4 commitment announcement at the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando, Fla.
He has repeatedly listed Ohio State and Penn State as his top two choices. Another trip to Columbus remains possible, per Kurelic, but his mid-November stay in State College should prove pivotal to the outcome of this contentious recruitment.
A late-rising prospect who didn’t play high school football until 2016, Oweh is ranked seventh among strongside defensive ends. He’s already surpassed his junior-season sack total (7) though three contests this year.
“His upside is just tremendous,” Saylor said after Oweh’s 4-sack performance in the opener. “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 three 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.”
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