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Penn State a top option for 4-star DB Jalani Williams
Penn State offered a scholarship to St. Louis defensive back Jalani Williams a few weeks into the 2017 season. Nearly six months later, he lists the Nittany Lions among his favorite universities.
Williams announced eight top options Friday night, featuring representatives of four Power 5 conferences:
Glory to God … TOP 8 ‼️🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/7IM0HseSPf
— Jalani Williams™ (@jalaniw9) March 3, 2018
A 6-foot-2, 170-pound junior at Parkway North High School, Williams claims almost 30 offers.
His current collection of favorites features Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Missouri, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Penn State. Schools that didn’t make the cut include Arkansas, Michigan State, Nebraska, Tennessee and UCLA.
Williams, considered the No. 18 safety and a top-300 overall recruit in the 247Sports composite rankings, is among a few notable Penn State targets who star in St. Louis. Trinity Catholic standouts Marcus Washington and Isaiah Williams — both recruited at receiver — have expressed interest in the Nittany Lions, while fellow blue-chip pass-catcher Jameson Williams of Cardinal Ritter High secured a Penn State offer in October.
— Jalani Williams™ (@jalaniw9) January 16, 2018
February was a busy month for Jalani Williams, who added offers from Alabama and Florida State and attended a junior day event at Oklahoma. Parkway North teammate and 4-star defensive tackle Michael Thompson signed with the Sooners this winter.
Williams broke out with 58 tackles and 2 interceptions in 2016, according to STL Today, securing more than 15 offers before the start of his junior season. He repeated that success last season with 61 tackles and 2 interceptions, leading to a Class 4 first-team all-state selection.
Penn State carries local State College cornerback Keaton Ellis in its 2019 recruiting class but has cast a broad nationwide net for defensive backs of interest. Other Nittany Lions safety targets include Lewis Cine (Dallas), Quinten Johnson (Washington, D.C.) and Tyler Rudolph (Waterbury, Conn.).
Watch Williams’ junior-season highlights here:
Nittany Lions offer LB Allen Smith from Georgia powerhouse
Penn State identified yet another offer-worthy athlete at Grayson (Loganville, Ga.), presenting an offer to Allen Smith on Thursday. The Nittany Lions’ 2019 target board now features six players from the perennial Peach State title contender.
Smith is the third Grayson linebacker to land on Penn State’s radar, joining Owen Pappoe and Kevin Harris. Teammates Wanya Morris (offensive lineman), Ronald Thompkins (athlete) and Kenyatta Watson II (safety) also earned Nittany Lions offers earlier this cycle.
Georgia continues to be a state in which Penn State is attempting to cultivate talent. Only Florida prospects (22) have received more Nittany Lions offers in the 2019 cycle, and James Franklin held a commitment from 5-star Harrison (Kennesaw, Ga.) High School quarterback Justin Fields for five months last year.
Smith’s fast-rising recruitment indicates Penn State will have plenty of company in this pursuit, particularly from conference foes. Maryland, Nebraska and Minnesota each offered in February, as did North Carolina and Syracuse. Smith visited the Tennessee Volunteers last weekend.
— Allen♏️ (@allennnnnnnnn4) February 24, 2018
Penn State has offered more than a dozen linebackers who are currently high school juniors. All except one (Harrisburg’s Andre White) have drawn the Nittany Lions’ attention beyond Pennsylvania borders.
Smith transferred to Grayson from Mountain View (Lawrenceville, Ga.) High School this offseason. Considered a 3-star outside linebacker, his size (6-3, 205 pounds) also makes him a candidate to contribute at safety or work out of a hybrid role during his senior season and ensuing college career.
Other Nittany Lions outside linebacker targets include Lance Dixon (Bloomfield, Mich.), Avery Huff (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Brandon Smith (Mineral, Va.).
Watch Smith’s 2017 highlights here:
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