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 a recruiting department staff member with a Big Ten program. Read his daily notebooks here at 7:20 p.m. ET Sunday through Thursday, and follow us on Twitter for the latest Nittany Lions recruiting news.
Penn State target Tyler Rudolph sets official visit
Coveted defensive back prospect Tyler Rudolph has planned a return trip to Penn State, and it should prove a pivotal step toward the conclusion of his recruitment. The St. Thomas More School (Waterbury, Conn.) junior will use an official visit in Happy Valley during the weekend of April 20-22.
The Nittany Lions wrap up spring practice that Saturday with the Blue-White Game. It figures to be a paramount date on Penn State’s 2018 recruiting calendar, particularly now that high school athletes are permitted to utilize official visits during spring of their junior year.
Rudolph, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound playmaker, is considered a candidate to compete at either cornerback or safety in college. He received a Penn State offer on Nov. 18, while on campus for the Nittany Lions’ victory against Nebraska.
His recruitment expanded rapidly this winter when schools such as Clemson, Florida, Michigan and Ohio State entered the mix. Rudolph, a 4-star recruit in 247Sports composite rankings, claims nearly 20 offers from Power 5 programs.
He described a busy spring during discussions with Land of 10.
Penn State is primed to be first on the travel itinerary, with another official visit expected to occur in June at Michigan. Clemson, Florida and Ohio State are each in line for unofficial visits leading to a commitment announcement in June.
When asked why Penn State stood out among contenders entering this late stage of his recruitment, Rudolph expressed a high comfort level with the program.
“Everything; with them it just feels like a family,” he said. “The amount of love they show is crazy.”
Penn State carries one commitment at defensive back: local State College cornerback Keaton Ellis. He and Rudolph spent time together Feb. 3 during a Nittany Lions junior day event.
Tre Williams, Rudolph’s teammate at St. Thomas More, is a priority defensive tackle target for Penn State in the 2020 recruiting class.
Watch Rudolph’s junior-season highlights here:
Nittany Lions land in top 7 for 4-star DT Rashad Cheney
Few states have received as much interest from the Penn State staff as Georgia on the 2019 recruiting trail. Rashad Cheney, one of the Peach State’s premier linemen, reciprocated that interest last Thursday night.
The 6-3, 270-pound Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.) High School junior included the Nittany Lions on a list of top contenders. Cheney, a 4-star prospect and top-20 defensive tackle in the 2019 class, placed Penn State alongside Alabama, Florida, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Miami and Minnesota.
He previously spent nearly a year pledged to the Georgia Bulldogs. Cheney backed off that verbal commitment on Jan. 25.
“I just feel like I need more time to make this life decision,” he told 247Sports’ Kipp Adams at the time. “This is the hardest decision — when you have coaches from all over asking for you to come to their school. I just want to make the best decision for me and my family.”
Cheney secured a Penn State offer in May 2017. The Nittany Lions have offered more than a dozen high school juniors in Georgia. Antonio Alfano (Rahway, N.J.), Rodas Johnson (Columbus, Ohio) and Ishmael Sopsher (Amite, La.) are among other notable Penn State targets at defensive tackle.
If Cheney schedules a visit to Happy Valley, this situation would warrant elevated attention. Aside from Minnesota, his other choices have a distinct edge in proximity compared to Penn State.
Watch Cheney’s 2017 highlights here:
Miss any previous editions of our daily Penn State recruiting notebook? You can find them all here.