July Recruiting Roundup: Filling in the Missing Pieces

By Nick Polak on July 26, 2017 at 11:10 am
P.J. Mustipher
1 Comment

Welcome back to the Recruiting Roundup. Moving forward, in order to be able to keep this post somewhat regular, we're going to stick with releasing it once per month, which should allow for enough time for something new to happen with each new edition.

With much of the 2018 class already committed, there aren't a ton of prospects left for Penn State to target. That being said, there are a few positions that are still primed to see a lot of action in the coming months.

All player photos are courtesy of 247Sports.

  Name Style High School Ht./Wt. Rating Status
Will Levis Pro Xavier (CT) 6'4/222 ★★★ (0.8545) Committed to Penn State (7/15/17)

It does not appear that Penn State has necessarily stopped recruiting Justin Fields in hopes that he will return, but the staff seems pleased with Levis and his potential. 

Running Backs
  Name High School Ht./Wt. Rating Status
Ricky Slade C.D. Hylton (VA) 5'9/185 ★★★★ (0.9824) Committed to Penn State (2/3/17)

The running back MVP at The Opening is set to be the next weapon out of the Penn State backfield. Slade hasn't once shown any amount of wavering in his commitment at any points, so Nittany Nation has no reason to worry here.

Wide Receivers
  Name High School Ht./Wt. Rating Status
Justin Shorter South Brunswick (NJ) 6'4/213 ★★★★★ (0.9892) Committed to Penn State (8/6/16)
Daniel George Oxon Hill (MD) 6'1.5/201 ★★★★ (0.9212) Committed to Penn State (7/16/17)
Jahan Dotson Nazareth (PA) 5'11/165 ★★★★ (0.9503) Top-3: Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan
Solomon Enis North Canyon (AZ) 6'4/190 ★★★★ (0.9137) Crystal Ball Leader: Penn State (100%)

After Penn State took four wide receivers in the 2017 class, not many expected them to go big at the position again in 2018. Yet, we could very well see the Lions with all four of the guys on the board here when all is said and done. It only seems to be a matter of time before Enis joins the class, and while Dotson may take a bit longer as he continues to check out other Big Ten schools, I'd bet that if the spot's there, he'll have a place at the end. He would be a good fit in this group as more of an underneath threat as opposed to Shorter, George, and Enis who all stand 6'1.5 or taller.

Tight Ends
  Name High School Ht./Wt. Rating Status
Zack Kuntz Camp Hill (PA) 6'8/221 ★★★★ (0.9573) Committed to Penn State (11/26/16)
Pat Freiermuth Brooks School (MA) 6'5/250 ★★★★ (0.9251) Committed to Penn State (8/16/16)

Penn State has their guys in Kuntz and Freiermuth. Both are solid in their commitments.

Offensive Line
  Name High School Ht./Wt. Rating Status
Nana Asiedu North Stafford (VA) 6'6/265 ★★★★ (0.9676) Committed to Penn State (4/22/17)
Antwan Reed Muskegon (MI) 6'5.5/326 ★★★ (0.8902) Committed to Penn State (4/22/17)
Bryce Effner Metea Valley (IL) 6'5/275 ★★★ (0.8590) Committed to Penn State (5/6/17)
Rasheed Walker North Point (MD) 6'5/280 ★★★★ (0.9500) Top-6: Penn State, Maryland, UNC, OSU, Rutgers, VT
Juice Scruggs Cathedral Prep (PA) 6'3/270 ★★★★ (0.9239) Crystal Ball Leader: Ohio State (100%)
T.J. Bradley Lackawanna C.C. (PA) 6'8/290 ★★★ (0.8678) Crystal Ball Leader: Penn State (67%)

All signs are pointing to Walker being an addition to this class at some point before the season. He's performed extremely well all summer on the camp circuit, and Penn State seems to have made him their top target along the offensive line.

Scruggs is very quiet, it's tough to get a read on him. It's always seemed like an Ohio State-Penn State battle here, but the longer he waits the more complicated things become with class space. Bradley would be someone the staff would surely love to have around as a more experienced presence with Brendan Mahon and Andrew Nelson set to move on after the 2017 season, but he's probably in a similar boat as Scruggs, space-wise.

  Name High School Ht./Wt. Rating Status
Shaquon Anderson-Butts Harrisburg (PA) 6'0.5/202 ★★★ (0.8869) Committed to Penn State (7/15/17)

Anderson-Butts, who could end up as either a wide receiver or defensive back, recently committed and seems solid to Penn State.

Defensive Tackles
  Name High School Ht./Wt. Rating Status
Judge Culpepper Plant (FL) 6'5/256 ★★★ (0.8686) Committed to Penn State (7/14/17)
Tyler Friday Don Bosco Prep (NJ) 6'3/263 ★★★★ (0.9675) Crystal Ball Leader: Michigan (80%)
P.J. Mustipher McDonogh School (MD) 6'4.5/285 ★★★★ (0.9551) Crystal Ball Leader: Penn State (71%)
Aeneas Hawkins Archbishop Moeller (OH) 6'3/265 ★★★★ (0.9020) Top-7: PSU, Alabama, Cincy, UK, OSU, Pitt, USC

The defensive line is the position of the most moving pieces left on the board. Culpepper is ready to go and verbally committed, but the defensive tackle spot after that is full of questions. Friday seems to be more interested in Ohio State and Michigan at this point, with Michigan being the leader on the 247Sports Crystal Ball.

Mustipher was a commitment candidate at the Lasch Bash, but will at least take another visit to Tennessee before deciding anything. Hawkins has had nothing but glowingly positive things to say about his visits to Happy Valley, though this will still be a battle with the hometown Cincinnati Bearcats, where his father played his college ball.

Defensive Ends
  Name High School Ht./Wt. Rating Status
Dorian Hardy Paramus Catholic (NJ) 6'5/241 ★★★★ (0.9283) Committed to Penn State (6/11/17)
Micah Parsons Harrisburg (PA) 6'3/235 ★★★★★ (0.9985) Crystal Ball Leader: Ohio State (67%)
K.J. Henry West Forsyth (NC) 6'5.5/235 ★★★★★ (0.9916) Crystal Ball Leader: Clemson (100%)
Eyabi Anoma St. Frances Academy (MD) 6'5/230 ★★★★ (0.9712) Crystal Ball Leader: Alabama (100%)
Tyreke Smith Cleveland Heights (OH) 6'3/260 ★★★★ (0.9650) Top-12: Includes Penn State
Jayson Oweh Blair Academy (NJ) 6'5/236 ★★★★ (0.9288) Top-3: Penn State, Ohio State, Notre Dame
Marcellus Earlington Don Bosco Prep (NJ) 6'4/260 ★★★ (0.8718) Crystal Ball Leader: Penn State (100%)

Oh boy. Hardy is locked up, but aside from that, Penn State fans could be in for quite a ride with the defensive end position. Parsons is the big ticket, and while having close friends Anderson-Butts and Isheem Young in tow should help, Franklin and his staff have plenty of work left to put themselves ahead of Ohio State here.

Henry is someone I'm keeping on here just because he keeps saying he's interested in visiting, but he's not a serious target until he actually does. Anoma should be back on campus at least once this fall thanks to proximity, but with the Crimson Tide lurking, things aren't looking great.

Ohio State also seems to be the leader for both Tyreke Smith and Jayson Oweh. I've been told that the Buckeyes will have room for and badly want all three of Smith, Oweh, and Parsons, so there won't be any automatic leftovers for Penn State to snatch up. 

Earlington may be on the outside looking in here unless all of the guys ahead of him on this board head elsewhere.

Inside Linebackers
  Name High School Ht./Wt. Rating Status
Nick Tarburton Pennridge (PA) 6'3.5/242 ★★★★ (0.8934) Committed to Penn State (11/21/17)

With Jack Lamb having eliminated Penn State in favor of UCLA and Notre Dame, Tarburton is it here in 2018. He could still be a defensive lineman down the road, but for now he's a linebacker.

Outside Linebackers
  Name High School Ht./Wt. Rating Status
Jesse Luketa Mercyhurst Prep (PA) 6'3/238 ★★★★ (0.8924) Committed to Penn State (2/3/17)
Charlie Katshir Cumberland Valley (PA) 6'3/198 ★★★ (0.8624) Committed to Penn State (2/2/17)
Brian Asamoah St. Francis De Sales (OH) 6'1/210 ★★★ (0.8656) Crystal Ball Leader: Pitt (71%)

Asamoah seems to be another who may have to wait for the dust to settle along the defensive line since that's the bigger area of need right now. The linebacker depth on the roster isn't outstanding, but it's fine for the time being. Still, if there's an available spot on Signing Day, expect to hear about Asamoah getting a call.

  Name High School Ht./Wt. Rating Status
Jordan Miner Wiregrass Ranch (FL) 6'1/177 ★★★★ (0.8919) Committed to Penn State (7/6/17)
Trent Gordon Manvel (TX) 5'11/172 ★★★ (0.8742) Committed to Penn State (3/29/17)
Houston Griffith IMG Academy (FL) 6'1/192 ★★★★ (0.9689) Top-7: PSU, Bama, FSU, Nebraska, ND, OSU, Texas

Miner and Gordon are quality additions to one of the deeper positional groups on the roster, with Miner being a particularly interesting prospect (his coach likened his game to that of recent NFL draft pick Vernon Hargreaves). Griffith is an outstanding talent, so it'll be interesting to see how hard the staff pushes for him with other positions in greater need.

  Name High School Ht./Wt. Rating Status
Isheem Young Imhotep Institute (PA) 5'9.5/201 ★★★★ (0.9483) Committed to Penn State (7/18/17)
Isaiah Humphries Sachse (TX) 5'11/191 ★★★ (0.8833) Committed to Penn State (12/31/16)
Kwantel Raines Aliquippa (PA) 6'3/200 ★★★★ (0.9360) Top-5: PSU, UF, Kentucky, Pitt, WVU

Raines seems to be headed to Pittsburgh or Florida or West Virginia, or really anywhere in his top group other than Penn State. With two safeties already committed, he'll likely look elsewhere for a less crowded depth chart, and Penn State will likely look to fill those spots in other ways. Still, if the Nittany Lions find themselves with the ability to take a very talented kid from Aliquippa in this class, they certainly will.

  Name High School Ht./Wt. Rating Status
Jake Pinegar Ankeny Centennial (IA) 6'2/195 ★★ (0.7889) Committed to Penn State (7/16/17)

Will hits from Pinegar on kickoff coverage be as fun as Joey Julius hits? Seeing as Pinegar is an all-state defensive back, the tackling form will likely be much better. Hopefully, we won't have to wait too long to answer that question.

Roar Lions Roar Big Board

  1. Rasheed Walker
  2. P.J. Mustipher
  3. Jayson Oweh
  4. Tyreke Smith
  5. Aeneas Hawkins
  6. Micah Parsons
  7. Solomon Enis
  8. T.J. Bradley
  9. Houston Griffith
  10. Jahan Dotson

As always, this big board is created using a mix of who I feel Penn State is most interested in, who they seem to have the best chance with, and who I feel they will actually get when all is said and done.

Walker, Mustipher, Oweh, Smith, and Hawkins were the big names on the board coming out of the Lasch Bash weekend, and I don't think anything's changed in that regard. Parsons is still a priority, but I'm more skeptical than most seem to be on the chances of him returning. Enis gets slotted down a bit simply because his position is a lesser need. Ditto with Dotson at No. 10. Bradley and Griffith would both be great pickups, but they need to have space for each in order to fit them in.

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