For the Future (08.17.17): New ESPN 2019 Rankings, Top Area Recruit Ready to Commit?

By Nick Polak on August 17, 2017 at 8:45 am
Keaton Ellis (left) on a visit to Penn State.
Keaton Ellis [Twitter]
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ESPN300

With much of the 2018 recruiting class locked up, the staff can start to focus more attention on the class of 2019. There is certainly plenty more that could happen with the 2018 group, both good and bad, but recruiting is a three-year deal. The staff would love to try and get some of their top junior class targets closer to verbal commitments.

ESPN released their new round of their top-300 recruits in the 2019 class, which included many names that are already familiar or will be familiar to Penn State fans. Some of the highlights-

  • No. 2: DE Zach Harrison (Olentangy Orange High School, OH)- Harrison is a top Penn State target and one of the top targets for nearly every program in the country. The obvious hurdle here will be Ohio State, but every top-tier program will be in on Harrison when all is said and done.
  • No. 9: OT Devontae Dobbs (Belleville High School, MI)- Dobbs recently visited Penn State and by all accounts, enjoyed said visit. It'll be tough for the Lions to pull him away from the Michigan schools and Ohio State, but the recent success of the program is quickly making State College a very attractive destination for top recruits.
  • No. 16: OLB Brandon Smith (Louisa County High School, VA)- Smith is a name that fans are already very familiar with. He's visited campus three times this calendar year already and has had a ton of contact with the Penn State staff throughout that time, as well. If I were making a Crystal Ball pick today, it would be for the Nittany Lions.
  • No. 38: MLB Shane Lee (St. Frances Academy, MD)- Lee is another familiar name for PSU fans. The big-time linebacker has been on campus three times since mid-October and appears to be one of the staff's top targets overall for the class.
  • No. 50: WR DeMarcco Hellams (DeMatha Catholic High School, MD)- Hellams seems like a good bet to become the latest to join the DeMatha-to-Penn State pipeline. The crazy athletic wideout/defensive back has one Penn State pick on his Crystal Ball, and multiple high-profile offers.
  • No. 63: WR Ronnie Hickman (DePaul Catholic High School, NJ)- Though likely destined for Ohio State, Hickman is a superb talent on the outside. He's visited Penn State twice this summer, so the Lions are far from out of contention.
  • No. 77: DT Antonio Alfano (Rahway High School, NJ)- Despite recently parting ways with Bergen Catholic, a traditional powerhouse in New Jersey, Alfano remains a high priority target who could be a difference-maker in the middle of the defensive line.
  • No. 150: RB Devyn Ford (North Stafford High School, VA)- Teammates with 2018 commit Nana Asiedu, Ford has said very positive things about Penn State early in the process. Could be the next in a recent string of über-talented running backs in Happy Valley.
  • No. 168: OL Caedan Wallace (The Hun School, NJ)- The former teammate of new Nittany Lion Fred Hansard is one of Penn State's top targets along the line, and someone who could commit sooner rather than later.
  • No. 171: CB Nyquee Hawkins (Orange High School, NJ)- I've said it before and I'll say it again. I would be absolutely shocked to see the four-star corner end up anywhere other than Penn State.
  • No. 172: DE Omar Speights (Imhotep Institute, PA)- Speights is the top-rated player in the state in the 2019 class. It's not a great year for Pennsylvania. Still, the Philly-area prospect is very athletic and very raw. Could be a fun piece of clay for Sean Spencer and Brent Pry.

Of course, there are many other names to know on the list. Check it out.

Ellis Ready to Announce?

According to Rob Moyer at the Centre Daily Times, 2019 State College High prospect Keaton Ellis could be ready to announce a verbal commitment soon. As Ellis told Moyer, a commitment "should be coming soon". As far as who that commitment is expected to be made to, there's little doubt Penn State will be the choice.

The Little Lion also said that he feels he will fit best as a defensive back at the collegiate level. It would be a major shock to see Ellis choose a school other than his hometown program.

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