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 recruiting department staff member with a Big Ten program. Read his daily notebooks here at 7:20 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, and follow us on Twitter for the latest Nittany Lions recruiting news.
Prospects enjoy whiteout experience, Penn State victory
It was a weekend to remember in Happy Valley, as Penn State pounded Big Ten rival Michigan in front of a record-setting Beaver Stadium crowd. The Nittany Lions looked like national championship contenders while cruising past the Wolverines, 42-13, to remain unbeaten and No. 2 in the national polls.
Penn State played in front of 110,823 people, marking the program’s seventh game with at least 110,000 fans in attendance. It represented the highest total in program history, eclipsing a previous high set in 2002 for a game against Nebraska.
This vast collection included an abundant group of prospects. The Nittany Lions’ 2018 recruiting class was well represented, ranging from in-state standouts to long-distance pledges such as Trent Gordon (Manvel, Texas) and Jordan Miner (Tampa, Fla.).
Upon his arrival at Beaver Stadium approximately two hours before kickoff, Penn State coach James Franklin paused to welcome each visiting recruit. It was smiles and hugs all around, including this interaction with 4-star linebacker pledge Jesse Luketa:
James Franklin and #PennState commit Jesse Luketa reunite as team arrives.
If any recruit is an extension of Lions staff, it's Luketa. pic.twitter.com/9b2Bs1UOex
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) October 21, 2017
Penn State moves forward to focus on another monumental matchup with Ohio State this Saturday, but let’s keep our spotlight on the wild whiteout atmosphere that shined in a national spotlight. Simply put, it was an extremely unique experience for all involved, ranging from coaches and players to fans and media members.
If you weren’t able to acquire a game ticket or missed the action on television, here’s a video showing an incredible environment created minutes before the game started.
If this setting tonight doesn't get you fired up, college football just isn't for you…
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) October 21, 2017
Following an impressive victory, I caught up with a few recruits who were in attendance. Look for a lot more recruiting feedback in our daily notebooks throughout the week, but let’s get it rolling with some initial reactions.
2019 WR DeMarcco Hellams (Hyattsville, Md.) – Penn State target
“The atmosphere was crazy, the fan base is amazing and they give the football team their all. The coaches constantly spoke about the revamped PSU team. [They] now look to national championships, and not just Big Ten championships. I saw a PSU team that proved doubters wrong. A lot of naysayers [were] saying they didn’t believe in the team and that the team hadn’t been tested, but when they were tested Saturday they proved their worth.”
2018 kicker Jake Pinegar (Ankeny, Iowa) – Penn State commit
“The fan base was nuts. The atmosphere was incredible. Crazy how much the fans wanted you to become part of Penn State football. Going on the field and talking with Coach Franklin and others was eye-opening. Felt like a dream, to be honest. The noise was like I’ve never heard. The sea of white, man… my eyes were glued to it the whole time. Hanging with all the recruits and celebrating the win as one family was also really cool. Can’t wait to be a part of it next year.”
2019 WR John Metchie (Hagerstown, Md.) – Penn State target
“It was a great game. Obviously Penn State played well, but the atmosphere itself was crazy.”
2019 CB Myles Bell (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) – Penn State target
“It was like no other. PSU’s White Out really is something special. The energy in the stadium was unreal. It was great getting back up to Happy Valley again. What stood out the most was just how people have so much love for the program. The trip definitely was the time of my life.”
John Miner, father of 2018 Penn State CB commit Jordan Miner (Tampa, Fla.)
“The atmosphere was electric. We were treated very well, we were fed a lot of food. The things that stood out the most was [of the] 110,823 people about 110,600 had on white, and was the noise was crazy.”
Meanwhile, many visitors also reacted via social media posts…
2019 QB Taquan Roberson (Wayne, N.J.) – Penn State target – with Nittany Lions RB Saquon Barkley
— tr.1__ (@TaquanRoberson_) October 22, 2017
2019 DE Noah Potter (Mentor, Ohio) – Penn State target
— Tim Potter (@pastortimpotter) October 22, 2017
2019 WR Kendrell Scurry (Thompson’s Station, Tenn.) – Penn State target
— Kendrell Scurry (@D1Scurry) October 22, 2017
2019 S Ronnie Hickman (Wayne, N.J.) – Penn State target – with Nittany Lions S Marcus Allen
— Ronnie Hickman (@asvprocket_) October 22, 2017
2019 CB K.J. Wallace (Atlanta) – Penn State target
— K.J. Wallace (@KJ_WALLACE_2) October 22, 2017
Micah Parsons schedules official visit to Oklahoma
While a large group of Penn State targets spent Saturday on campus, Micah Parsons was busy balling out for Harrisburg (Pa.) High School. He scored 5 touchdowns, including one on a kickoff return, during a home victory over State College High School.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound playmaker has spent his entire senior season making a strong case to be considered Pennsylvania’s premier prep running back. Of course, his attributes as a defensive prospect have captivated college recruiting departments since 2014.
Penn State extended a scholarship to Parsons during his freshman year, eventually securing a verbal commitment in February 2016. However, he backed off that pledge April 23 and has spent the last six months exploring a variety of other university options.
Fellow Big Ten teams Nebraska and Ohio State emerged as strong contenders during the offseason and remain under consideration. Along the way, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Southern California are among a slew of other schools that have been mentioned as possible destinations.
Parsons, considered the No. 5 overall recruit in 247Sports 2018 composite rankings, is among the highest-rated prospects to develop in Pennsylvania. Penn State is presently favored to sign him by 82 percent of experts’ predictions in the 247Sports Crystal Ball, but he continues to express interest in schools far beyond state borders.
Add Oklahoma to the list.
Parsons will use an official visit to Norman this weekend, according to Adam Friedman of Rivals.com. It will be his first and presumably final recruiting trip to the university, so Oklahoma will really need to impress in order to legitimately thrust itself into the conversation.
He already witnessed the Sooners’ biggest win of the season. Parsons was in the midst of an official visit at Ohio State on Sept. 9 when Oklahoma rolled into town and secured a convincing victory. Oklahoma hosts Texas Tech this Saturday night.
A commitment date remains uncertain for Parsons. So does the possibility of early enrollment.
He will compete in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 6. It’s an event that annually features highly anticipated commitment announcements, so perhaps Parsons will become the latest 5-star prospect to reveal his choice during the nationally televised showcase. A decision could certainly occur before then.
Parsons is a teammate and close friend of Penn State pledge Shaquon Anderson-Butts, who has repeatedly expressed confidence that he’ll re-join the class.
Parsons told Friedman he speaks with Franklin and Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Brent Pry “almost every day.”
Miss any previous editions of our daily Penn State recruiting notebook? You can find them all here.