Penn State lost a recruit at a position of need, as Dylan Rivers has backed out of his verbal commitment to the Nittany Lions, and flipped to Virginia Tech. The 6’2”, 230-lb linebacker from Stephens City, Va., committed to Penn State in November 2015, but is now headed to Blacksburg.
“After much thought and prayer, it is mine and my family’s best interest to decommit from Penn State University," Rivers wrote in a statement he posted to Twitter. "Thank you to coach [Brent] Pry and coach [James] Franklin for giving me an opportunity to play and graduate from such a prestigious university.”
Penn State visited in-home with Rivers on January 12, and Rivers took his official visit to Happy Valley this weekend. However, PSU's efforts to keep Rivers on board ultimately fell short.
Respect MY decision! pic.twitter.com/Re9YLFZzde— Dylan Rivers (@dylan_rivers) January 22, 2017
Oddly enough for Linebacker U., PSU has experienced great frustration recruiting the linebacker position during James Franklin’s tenure. One of the key reasons may be the lack of Big Ten caliber linebackers coming out of Pennsylvania. Since 2014, just two linebackers (Chase Winovich in 2014, David Adams in 2017) have ranked in the top-10 players in the state.
Rivers' decommitment does open up a spot in a recruiting class tight on space, but creates a massive hole at a position of need. The Lions, however, have already moved on another four-star inside linebacker out of Virgnia, Ellis Brooks from Virginia.