The high school season is underway for Penn State commits and recruiting targets. Check Land of 10 every Sunday as we spotlight the top performances of potential Nittany Lions.
The 2017 high school football season continues to roll along across America, shining a spotlight on college prospects of various recruiting classes. Penn State targets and commits have shined during these first few weeks of games and those more dominant performances landed on the list this weekend.
A pair of Nittany Lions pledges proved their impact extends across multiple phases of the game. Meanwhile, an elite defensive talent scored 3 touchdowns before he journeyed to Beaver Stadium on Saturday. Another notable player on the Penn State watch list surpassed 200 rushing yards yet again.
Here are a few premier performances you should know about from another busy weekend of action. Some, or perhaps even all, of these talents will eventually where a Nittany Lions uniform.
Cornerback Keaton Ellis
- Class: 2019
- High School: State College (Pa.)
- Size: 6-foot, 168 pounds
- 247Sports Composite ranking: No. 36 cornerback; No. 382 overall
- Recruitment status: Committed to Penn State on Sept. 9, 2017
Keaton Ellis is the Nittany Lions’ newest pledge, and commitment No. 1 of the 2019 recruiting cycle. This local standout, the son of former Penn State receiver Bruce Ellis, remains the only high school junior in Pennsylvania with a Penn State offer.
He again displayed why the Nittany Lions identified him as a key target Friday night during a 56-7 win at Mifflin County. Ellis caught a pair of touchdown passes from 9 and 22 yards out, according to PennLive. Ellis plays receiver and cornerback at State College, while also serving multiple roles on special teams, where he added a third score Friday by recovering a blocked punt.
Syracuse is the only other Power 5 program to offer him so far, though any squad would have a difficult time prying Ellis away from his hometown. He registered a 4.39-second 40-yard dash during a Penn State camp in June.
Running back Devyn Ford
- Class: 2019
- High School: North Stafford (Stafford, Va.)
- Size: 5-foot-11, 185 pounds
- 247Sports Composite ranking: No. 4 running back; No. 45 overall
- Recruitment status: Uncommitted; offers include Clemson, North Carolina, Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech
Devyn Ford is enjoying a sensational junior season thus far, running wild behind an offensive line that features 4-star Penn State pledge Nana Asiedu. He opened the campaign Aug. 25 with a 222-yard, 4-touchdown effort, and actually managed to exceed that showing this weekend.
Ford, who traveled to the Nittany Lions’ spring game alongside Asiedu, did a ton of damage on only 11 rushing attempts. He turned those opportunities into 231 yards and 4 scores in a resounding 70-27 victory over William Fleming High, according to The Roanoke Times.
His breakaway ability also extends to the passing attack, and he’s also a compelling candidate to return kicks on special teams. Ford is making a strong case to be considered the 2019 class’ top overall running back recruit.
Tight end Zack Kuntz
- Class: 2018
- High School: Camp Hill (Pa.)
- Size: 6-foot-7, 221 pounds
- 247Sports Composite ranking: No. 4 tight end; No. 100 overall
- Recruitment status: Committed to Penn State on Nov. 26, 2016
Zack Kuntz matches a rare blend of size and athleticism to create a major threat in the passing game. He entered his senior season with more than 100 career receptions and continues to post tremendous production during his final prep campaign.
Kuntz, who also earned a state track and field championship in the hurdles this spring, needed just 4 catches Friday night to rack up 152 receiving yards, according to Brian Linder of PennLive. He also scored a touchdown during Camp Hill’s 52-6 win over James Buchanan High.
Through four games this season, Kuntz has 18 catches for 437 yards and 3 scores. He attended the Penn State game Saturday.
— Coach Cleezy (@EdOBrienScout) September 4, 2017
Linebacker Jesse Luketa
- Class: 2018
- High School: Mercyhurst Prep (Erie, Pa.)
- Size: 6-3, 238 pounds
- 247Sports Composite ranking: No. 16 outside linebacker; No. 324 overall
- Recruitment status: Committed to Penn State on Feb. 3
Jesse Luketa vaulted into 4-star territory this offseason while collecting an abundance of scholarship offers from Power 5 programs. He certainly looks every part of a blue-chip prospect so far in 2017, exhibiting elite play on both sides of the ball.
His latest performance featured a pair of touchdowns — 1 rushing and 1 receiving — along with sustained excellence on defense. Luketa collected 5 tackles and an interception while roaming the field at linebacker, looking quicker than ever.
“All summer, I just ran track and hills,” Luketa told Land of 10 on Saturday morning. “I want to be one of the greatest linebackers ever to play, so I know speed is just going to help me.”
Defensive end Micah Parsons
- Class: 2018
- Size: 6-foot-3, 235 pounds
- 247Sports Composite ranking: No. 1 weakside defensive end; No. 5 overall
- Recruitment status: Uncommitted; offers include Alabama, Florida State, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State.
We typically marvel at Micah Parsons’ potential on defense, where he can take over a matchup at defensive end or linebacker, but his abilities on offense are difficult to ignore. He has now scored a touchdown in each Harrisburg game this season, tallying 3 scores for a second straight contest Friday night.
Parsons rumbled for 142 yards and those 3 touchdowns on just 12 carries, according to Brian Linder of PennLive. His effort included a pair of long-distance scoring sprints from 39 and 67 yards out. It could have been worse for Pottsville in a 45-0 defeat, as Linder notes Parsons had a 94-yard touchdown run called back due to penalty.
Parsons now has 7 rushing touchdowns through three games for one of Pennsylvania’s top programs. He also feasted as an offensive force during 7-on-7 action this offseason. His return to Penn State this weekend, where he previously spent 14 months committed, created quite a stir.
— Penn State Videos (@NittanyNation38) August 27, 2017
DE Jayson Oweh
- Class: 2018
- High School: Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.)
- Size: 6-5. 236 pounds
- 247Sports Composite ranking: No. 7 strongside defensive end; No. 158 overall
- Recruitment status: Uncommitted; offers include Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State
Like Parsons, Jayson Oweh traveled to Happy Valley for Penn State’s game against Georgia State. He was fresh off a senior-season opener Saturday afternoon that showed just how far he’s come in his development.
Oweh opened a lot of eyes during his first high school football season last fall, then spent the offseason refining his approach at defensive end. That effort paid off immensely Saturday, as he totaled 4 sacks, 11 tackles, 5 quarterback hurries, 1 forced fumble, 1 blocked punt and a 61-yard touchdown reception.
“He gets better every day,” Blair Academy coach Jim Saylor said Sunday morning.
Oweh will return to Penn State on Nov. 18 for an official visit, then announce a commitment Jan. 4 at the Under Armour All-America Game.