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.
Penn State set to hosts several commits, key recruiting targets Saturday
“We all had a great time enjoying the game, sitting back and watching the best team in the country beat Akron,” 4-star defensive tackle PJ Mustipher told Land of 10.
Expect an even larger 2018 recruiting class contingent this weekend, as the anticipated guest list among commits has reached double digits. During conversations with multiple prospects, Land of 10 has learned the following players plan to attend this upcoming matchup:
- WR Shaquon Anderson-Butts (Harrisburg, Pa.)
- OL Nana Asiedu (Stafford, Va.)
- DT Aeneas Hawkins (Cincinnati)
- LB Charlie Katshir (Mechanicsburg, Pa.)
- TE Zack Kuntz (Camp Hill, Pa.)
- LB Jesse Luketa (Erie, Pa.)
- OL Fredrick Scruggs (Erie, Pa.)
- RB Ricky Slade (Woodbridge, Va.)
- LB Nick Tarburton (Perkasie, Pa.)
- S Isheem Young (Philadelphia)
“We’re going to be deep this weekend,” said Luketa, while discussing the group of pledges.
Back in the Valley with my brothers this weekend #WeAre
— Jesse Luketa (@OttawasVeryOwn) September 7, 2017
Luketa traveled to Happy Valley for the Akron game, along with Katshir, Kuntz, Mustipher, tight end Pat Freiermuth of Massachusetts and receiver Justin Shorter of New Jersey.
Hawkins, the program’s most recent commit, is excited to return to campus as a member of the class. His most recent trip to Penn State occurred in mid-July when he was still weighing other collegiate options.
“I’m looking forward to being back as a commit for the first time,” he said. “It’ll be amazing to be able to walk onto the field and to know that this is my home. I’m excited to be around other commits and the fans. It’ll be an exciting game, and it’ll be fun to be able to see the rivalry in person.”
Hawkins, a 4-star prospect who plays for Ohio powerhouse Archbishop Moeller High School, also mentioned another dynamic that should make Saturday extra interesting for him.
“I’m bringing my grandfather [former Pitt running back Artrell Hawkins Sr.] with me,” he said. “I’ve even managed to get him on board with Penn State.”
So, will it be blood over alma mater for a former Panthers player?
“I’m going to get him to do the ‘We Are Penn State’ chant and everything,” Hawkins said.
Along with this group, key uncommitted targets also will be on campus.
Kwantel Raines, a 4-star safety from Aliquippa (Pa.) High School, plans to attend the game. His list of finalists features both Penn State and Pitt, while schools such as Florida and West Virginia also remain in the mix.
Im at the PSU vs Pitt game this week whats up when i get there 🤔…
— Telly Mac (@KwantelRaines) September 6, 2017
Raines is a 2018 prospect, and he already has relationships with several members of the Penn State class. The sideline also will include notable 2019 targets, led by running back Jordan Houston and linebacker Brandon Smith.
Both players attend school in Virginia, where Nittany Lions coach James Franklin has flourished on the recruiting trail. Houston and Smith are already quite familiar with the campus.
Houston, who received a Penn State offer in July 2016, is the son and nephew of Penn State graduates. He attended a July 14 camp in State College and stuck around the next day for Lasch Bash festivities.
Smith, who has added nine offers since the Nittany Lions extended one in April, also attended Lasch Bash. He made that trip alongside several family members and that should again be the case Saturday, as Smith makes his fourth visit to Happy Valley this year.
Penn State is in excellent shape for both of these talents as the search for the first 2019 commitment continues into September.
— Brandon Smith (@brand0n_smith12) July 16, 2017
Nittany Lions pledge Jordan Miner delivers another impressive performance
Unlike plenty of his classmates, Nittany Lions cornerback commit Jordan Miner won’t see a Penn State game in person until Oct. 21, when he plans to use an official visit for the matchup with Michigan. This 6-foot-1, 183-pound Wiregrass Ranch (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) senior is off to an outstanding start for the 2017 season.
That momentum carried into his third game, as Miner caught a pair of touchdown passes Thursday night during a 14-9 win over Sunlake (Land O’ Lakes, Fla.). This comes one week after he pushed his team toward victory with a 56-yard touchdown run.
— Darek Sharp (@DarekSharp) September 2, 2017
Miner has shown he can overwhelm opponents in all three phases of the game, and he previously mentioned the possibility of competing for kick-return duties at Penn State. He wasn’t targeted on defense Thursday, and it’s a safe bet quarterbacks won’t look his way too often throughout this campaign, considering the reputation he’s built at cornerback.
Miner has 5 interceptions and 15 pass breakups in the 12 games before Thursday night, according to MaxPreps. He opened the 2017 season with interceptions in each of the first two games, adding 8 tackles.
Considered the nation’s No. 31 cornerback recruit in 247Sports 2018 composite rankings, Miner pledged to Penn State over schools such as Florida, North Carolina, Oregon and Tennessee on July 6.
First 3 games..
— Jordan Miner (@_Jordanminer) September 8, 2017