The nation's No. 2 overall prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, center Dereck Lively II, has officially set his commitment date for Monday, September 20.
92021— Dereck Lively II (@dereckl41) September 17, 2021
Duke and Kentucky are the clear favorites for the five-star big man, but Penn State has done well hanging around in this one. Micah Shrewsberry and his staff already hold a commitment from fellow Team Final member Jameel Brown, and the Nittany Lions are also the favorite to land another member of Team Final in Otega Oweh (set to announce next Friday), which certainly hasn't hurt them in their pursuit of Lively.
There's also the family connection that Lively has to Happy Valley. Lively's mother, Kathy Drysdale, not only is the Director of Marketing and Fan Experience (women's volleyball, wrestling, and softball) for the Penn State athletic department but is a former Lady Lion herself. Playing for the Penn State Women's Basketball team from 1988-1992, Drysdale scored 1,295 career points during her time in Happy Valley. As you might expect with his mother's background and growing up in Bellefonte, Lively has spent a lot of time in and around Happy Valley.
Still, defeating the likes of Duke and Kentucky for the services of the almost-surely one-and-done prospect was always going to be an uphill battle for the Nittany Lions. They've remained in the conversation this long, however, and will surely continue to recruit Lively up until Signing Day, no matter his decision come Monday.
Penn State currently boasts the No. 18-ranked recruiting class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Oweh and Kebba Njie are two more high-profile targets set to announce in the next week or so and would bump the Lions even further up that list. Kentucky currently holds the No. 1 spot on the list, with Duke just behind them at No. 3.