ORLANDO, Fla. — While college football’s next crop of freshmen near their final high school showcase with Under Armour All-America Game preparation this week, marquee members of the 2019 recruiting class joined them Wednesday. An annual “Future 50” event features need-to-know juniors who are ready to command a larger national spotlight.
This collection of prospects arrived in Orlando throughout the day and provided updates on widespread recruitments. Many of these young standouts carry at least 20 scholarship offers, and plenty already issued verbal commitments to Power 5 programs.
Penn State, presently putting the finishing touches on a premier 2018 recruiting class, is attempting to expand its national reach on the recruiting trail. Fresh off signing a pair of players from both Florida and Texas, Nittany Lions coach James Franklin is well underway with abundant long-distance pursuits in the 2019 cycle.
Among the more than 90 scholarship offers Penn State has issued to high school juniors, only two belong to Pennsylvania products. Local State College cornerback Keaton Ellis committed to the Nittany Lions in September, while linebacker Andre White is likely to eventually join former Harrisburg High School teammates Shaquon Anderson-Butts, Damion Barber and Micah Parsons in Happy Valley.
Penn State coaches have clearly been diligent dealing with 2019 targets, regardless of region. These efforts place the Nittany Lions in excellent position to assemble another outstanding class in the year ahead.
Here is a rundown of what Land of 10 heard from prospects about Penn State during check-in for Future 50 action.
*Rankings based on 247Sports composite scores
No. 1 inside linebacker Shane Lee (Baltimore) on his Oct. 21 visit to Beaver Stadium for the Nittany Lions’ 42-13 win over Michigan:
“It was really cool to be there that night, to be honest with you. I was there for Ohio State, the whiteout [in 2016] and it just gives me chills every time I step in that stadium.”
No. 16 cornerback Nyquee Hawkins (Orange, N.J.) on program atmosphere:
“I always just feel comfortable, like at home, up there. Coach Franklin is a good dude and you can tell when he’s talking he cares about kids in football and off the field. That’s a big impact and I like that a lot.”
— Quee_ 🆎 (@NyqueeH) November 19, 2017
No. 1 tackle Devontae Dobbs (Belleville, Mich.) on relationship with coaches, impression of campus:
“I just like the coaching staff, the way they are. They’re real chill and relaxed, not really putting pressure on me. … It’s just Happy Valley.”
No. 3 athlete Isaiah Williams (St. Louis) on momentum with Penn State:
“They want me and I’ve got a great relationship with [receivers coach Josh] Gattis. … I like their offense. It feels like something I could play in.”
No. 8 outside linebacker Marcel Brooks (Flower Mound, Texas) on attention from James Franklin:
“Coach Franklin came to see me at school two times. It was crazy. … I’m pretty sure they will [get an official visit].”
Blessed to receive an offer from my dream school Penn state😳 pic.twitter.com/v9ttRsPro5
— 💼 (@MarcelBrooks_5) May 22, 2017
No. 8 receiver Marcus Washington (St. Louis) on communication with the Nittany Lions:
“Josh Gattis and James Franklin both hit me up frequently, and [offensive coordinator] Ricky Rahne hits me up all the time on Twitter now. … They want me to get to campus sometime this spring or summer. We’ll (Trinity Catholic High School targets) probably go there as a group together.”
No. 5 weakside defensive end Brandon Smith (Mineral, Va.) on the return of defensive coordinator Brent Pry:
“That means a lot knowing who I’m potentially going to be playing for if I pick that school. We’ve built a good relationship between my family and Coach Pry.”
— Brandon Smith (@brand0n_smith12) July 16, 2017