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Penn State offers 2019 OT John Olmstead, longtime follower of the program
John Olmstead is among the most coveted high school sophomores in Big Ten territory. The New Jersey offensive lineman already claims scholarship offers from nearly half the conference, and added Penn State to that list Wednesday.
I am blessed to receive an offer from Penn State University🦁🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/ikOuCjLBHv
— John Olmstead (@JOHNNYO_72) May 23, 2017
The Nittany Lions follow in line with Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State and Rutgers.
“I grew up watching Penn State so it’s a big offer for me,” he said. “I think I could play there. I’m really excited about the offer and ready to build relationships with the coaches.”
Olmstead, who plays offensive tackle and defensive line at Metuchen (N.J.) St. Joseph High School, focused on lacrosse throughout youth and added football to his athletic résumé midway through middle school. The gridiron is now his primary focus but those years of running up and down the lacrosse field contribute to his compelling athletic prowess.
Nittany Lions coach James Franklin addressed those attributes during a Wednesday phone conversation that followed the news of an offer from the St. Joseph staff.
“He likes my athleticism and speed for a big guy,” Olmstead said. “I’m 6-foot-6, 290 pounds and move pretty fast at that size. Coach Franklin really likes my motor and how hard I work.”
Still looking ahead at two seasons of high school football, there’s plenty of room for growth on an already-impressive physical frame. Olmstead is also a versatile blocker, and he believes he can provide flexibility for a collegiate offense.
“I can line up all over the offensive line,” he said. “Whatever gets me on the field fastest, I’m willing to play.”
Olmstead lined up at guard as a freshman. He moved into a starting role at left tackle in 2016.
While his offers extend beyond the Big Ten — options include Duke, North Carolina, UCLA and Virginia — campus visits have been restricted to the conference thus far.
He received offers from Minnesota and nearby Rutgers during junior day visits, while Penn State welcomed him to campus April 22 for the spring game.
Olmstead spoke highly of his initial State College experience.
“It was awesome,” he said. “Even though I’ve been following Penn State since I was a little kid, it was my first time ever there. My jaw dropped when I walked into the stadium through the gate where the players come through.”
Olmstead soaked in the atmosphere with his father and brother-in-law.
“The amount of people who were there just for a spring game (71,000) was just crazy,” he said. “I can only imagine what it’s like to play in front of a full capacity crowd (107,000). I’m sure it’s nuts.”
50 yard 115 pound towel holds 💪🏻🏈😈 pic.twitter.com/DKoIFyfpaE
— John Olmstead (@JOHNNYO_72) March 21, 2017
Olmstead plans to return to Happy Valley this summer for a more comprehensive look at the university and football facility. But Penn State has company on his travel schedule.
He will fly to Chicago in June for a visit at Northwestern, followed by a drive to Notre Dame. Olmstead also expressed intentions to eventually visit Ohio State during a recent discussion with Land of 10 colleague Jeremy Birmingham.
Olmstead is considered the No. 7 overall New Jersey prospect in 247Sports’ 2019 rankings. Early indications serve notice the Nittany Lions are a strong contender in this recruitment.
“I’m a run blocker and that’s my favorite thing to do,” he said. “Penn State really seems to love running the ball, so that’s appealing to me. That’s my style of offense.”
Top offensive tackle target Rasheed Walker will return to campus
Rasheed Walker, a priority prospect on Penn State’s 2018 recruiting board, reportedly plans to visit Penn State this weekend. The news comes courtesy of Rivals.com reporter Ryan Snyder, who notes it’s the lineman’s first trip to State College since January.
Walker, a 6-5, 280-pound junior at North Point High in Maryland will travel with his parents.
“My mom hasn’t seen campus yet,” he said. “They want to show her everything that me and my dad saw (before).”
Walker included the Nittany Lions in a top-six list released April 19. The collection also consisted of Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio State, Rutgers and Virginia Tech.
During an April 23 conversation with Land of 10 at The Opening’s Washington, D.C. regional camp, he expressed excitement about the trajectory of Penn State.
“It’s pretty cool because I saw people predicting it would take 10 years to get where they are now,” Walker said. “That’s impressive on Coach Franklin’s part.”
Along with Franklin, he maintains frequent communication with offensive assistants Josh Gattis and Matt Limegrover.
“We’re basically talking every day now, maybe every other day,” Walker told Snyder. “Between Coach Huff and Coach Limegrover, we talk on a regular basis. Penn State has been recruiting me since the end of last school year, so basically a year now.”
Walker, listed No. 11 nationally among offensive tackle prospects in 247Sports’ 2018 composite rankings, received an invitation to The Opening finals Wednesday. He is likely to join Nittany Lions commits Justin Fields, Ricky Slade, Zack Kuntz and Justin Shorter for this June 28-July 3 event in Beaverton, Ore., at Nike’s world headquarters.
— CincoTres (@ShEed_CoOlin) May 23, 2017
Walker is projected to sign with Penn State by 100 percent of experts’ predictions in the 247Sports crystal ball. The Nittany Lions currently carry three offensive line commitments in the 2018 class — Nana Asiedu, Bryce Effner and Antwan Reed.
Other primary Penn State interests along the offensive front include Christian Armstrong of Georgia, Qadir White of New York and junior college prospect T.J. Bradley of Virginia.