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.
Ronald Thompkins lists Penn State among 4 finalists
Our Sunday recruiting notebook focused on a recent Penn State offer to Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) High School linebacker Allen Smith, who became the Nittany Lions’ sixth 2019 recruiting target within that powerhouse prep program. Grayson remains in the spotlight Monday following an announcement from two-way standout Ronald Thompkins.
A 5-foot-11, 195-pound prospect who previously spent four months pledged to Florida State, he’s trimmed collegiate options. Penn State made the cut, joining Mississippi State, Southern Cal and Tennessee:
— Ronald Thompkins ll (@jrthompkins5) March 5, 2018
“I have decided these four [are] my main and top priority schools,” Thompkins wrote.
Considered a 4-star recruit and the No. 30 athlete in 247Sports’ 2019 composite rankings, he presents potential at defensive back, running back and receiver. Penn State offered a scholarship in late January.
Thompkins’ list provides the possibility of Penn State coach James Franklin facing off against former Nittany Lions offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead for a blue-chip prospect. Don’t expect frequent clashes with Mississippi State, but here is one such instance.
Florida State initially secured his commitment last May, but that pact fell apart during his junior season, and the eventual departure of Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher (and his staff) seems to have severed that recruiting relationship.
“I just rushed things and I just want to take a look at more schools,” Thompkins told Rivals’ Chad Simmons following his Sept. 24 de-commitment. “Not being committed anymore allows me to do that more. I just feel better about it.”
It remains to be seen where the Nittany Lions view his ideal landing spot on the field. Most conversations regarding his skill set lead to cornerback or running back. Watch his 2017 season highlights here:
While reviewing his other top options, Tennessee stands out. New Volunteers coach Jeremy Pruitt identified Thompkins as a target within days of his arrival in Knoxville and has since welcomed him to campus twice.
Southern Cal didn’t need much time to make an impression. The Trojans offered less than two weeks ago.
What’s missing is Thompkins’ timeline for a decision.
The altered recruiting calendar now allows high school juniors to use official visits during the spring, which could prove pivotal for Penn State and USC since both trips require costly long-distance travel. During the 2018 recruiting cycle, the Nittany Lions only needed one visit from 4-star Florida cornerback Jordan Miner to reel in his commitment, so a similar course here isn’t out of the question.
Lions LB target Andre White earns showcase MVP honors
Andre White is one of only two high school juniors in Pennsylvania who presently claim a Penn State offer. The Harrisburg High School linebacker took a major leap toward putting himself on a national radar Sunday.
White, who landed a Nittany Lions offer on Dec. 14, earned recognition as linebacker MVP at The Opening’s San Fransisco regional camp. He entered competition with 10 total offers, including Boston College, Maryland, Pittsburgh and Rutgers.
“Impressive frame, tested pretty well, competed and took a ton of reps,” Student Sports president Brian Stumpf told Land of 10.
Stumpf, who directs The Opening’s camp circuit, brings up an excellent point regarding White’s desire to improve and impress. There are times when established recruits duck out of reps, which sometimes equates to a fear of being exposed, but he hit the West Coast with hunger, according to those who attended the event.
“[White] didn’t waste any reps, seemingly taking more reps than any linebacker, and looking pretty good in all of them,” wrote 247Sports’ Brandon Huffman. “It was a good linebacker group and White was the standout. He’s got a great frame with good size already and showed a great competitive nature to his game.”
A 6-3, 217-pound prospect, he is making the most of this venture. White plans to compete at The Opening’s Los Angeles regional next Sunday and will visit Cal, UCLA and USC this week, according to Penn Live’s Greg Pickel.
That’s significant exposure for a player who appears primed to surpass his current composite ranking (No. 56 outside linebacker). He steps into the spotlight at Harrisburg following the departure of 5-star recruit Micah Parsons, who is preparing for his first Penn State spring camp.
White led the Cougars with 87 tackles last season, collecting 10 tackles for loss and 3 sacks.
Penn State signed Harrisburg players (Parsons and defensive tackle Damion Barber) in each of the past two recruiting cycles, and the Nittany Lions are now a perceived favorite to land White. He most recently visited Happy Valley for a Feb. 3 junior day.
Watch White’s 2017 highlights here:
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