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Prized Pennsylvania prospect Derrick Davis Jr. to visit twice in April
Derrick Davis didn’t need much time to emerge as one of Pennsylvania’s premier high school football prospects. The Gateway (Monroeville) High School freshman is already approaching a double-digit total of scholarship offers from Power 5 programs.
Davis, who most recently added offers from Baylor, Kentucky and Ohio State in February, is easily the most heavily recruited 2021 recruit in the Keystone State to this point. Penn State entered the mix in December, while Pittsburgh and West Virginia are among other universities involved.
Davis attended Penn State’s most notable home game in 2017: a 42-13 victory over Michigan on Oct. 21. He plans to spend a couple of days on campus in the coming weeks, according to Land of 10’s Ryan Donnelly.
“Right now I know that the Penn State junior day is April 7 and the Blue-White Game is April 21. So far, that’s the only school I have specific dates for,” Davis told Donnelly last week.
The 6-foot, 176-pound defensive back also told Land of 10 that Ohio State, West Virginia and Temple are also expected stops on a developing itinerary. Coaching staffs across the region are likely to encourage campus visits for Davis throughout what shapes up to be a lengthy, high-profile recruiting process, and this offseason figures to feature significant early developments.
Davis is the only high school freshman in Pennsylvania who carries a Nittany Lions offer. In fact, he is one of only four in-state student-athletes set to compete at the prep level this fall who’ve landed on Penn State’s target board. The others are cornerback Keaton Ellis (State College; 2019), linebacker Andre White (Harrisburg; 2019) and receiver Julian Fleming (Southern Columbia; 2020).
The Nittany Lions will, at the very least, deal with serious competition within the Big Ten. Davis called Ohio State “a dream school” when the Buckeyes offered this winter.
“This offer ranks really high for me, this one is now fighting with Penn State,” he told Land of 10.
A strong spring/summer camp circuit could attract greater attention from powerhouse programs beyond Big Ten territory. Either way, the stage is set for Davis to spend his sophomore season — and those beyond it — in the spotlight.
“Penn State told me I might be another Micah Parsons and that my ability to play around everywhere is unbelievable,” Davis told Land of 10.
Watch his 2017 highlights here:
Top-ranked OL Paris Johnson Jr. heading to Happy Valley
Along with Davis, we reported last Tuesday that 5-star linebacker Brandon Smith intends to spend time in Happy Valley on Saturday. These are only two members of the impressive guest list Penn State seems to be constructing this week, which begins with a visit from top-ranked 2020 offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr.
The 6-7, 275-pound St. Xavier (Cincinnati) High School sophomore tweeted Sunday afternoon he will arrive at Penn State on Monday. Johnson was among biggest risers among 2020 recruits this winter, when his offer sheet swelled to include universities from each Power 5 conference.
Penn State joined the pursuit on Jan. 24, one day after Notre Dame offered him. His options include Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State and Stanford.
Ohio State figures to be a prominent competitor throughout this recruitment, and the Buckeyes have welcomed him to campus multiple times in recent weeks. Penn State can contribute toward a favorable early impression Monday, as the program is certain to invest resources and face-to-face conversation with Johnson.
Considered the No. 1 tackle and No. 7 overall recruit in 247Sports’ 2020 rankings, he claims more than 30 offers. His combination of size and athleticism have quickly proven tantalizing for college programs, and Johnson’s developmental trajectory points toward a potential No. 1 overall prep ranking.
“He’s incredibly aggressive,” St. Xavier coach Steve Specht told 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong in March. “He’s able to flip that switch. He’s a great kid, a good boy but when he gets on the field he’s able to make that transition. He plays angry and the best part is he’s young. He’s barely been able to scratch the surface of his talent but he has the demeanor for it.”
Johnson attends the same high school where current Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford starred. The Nittany Lions redshirt freshman led St. Xavier to a state championship in 2016.
Aside from Johnson, other Penn State offensive line targets in the 2020 class include Anton Harrison (Washington, D.C.), Chris Morris (Memphis, Tenn.) and Luke Wypler (Montvale, N.J.).
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