Penn State closed out last year with late additions of Rasheed Walker and Jayson Oweh. They'll look for another similar finish to the 2019 cycle, and there's a deep pool of talent to accomplish that.
There's not much to mention here. James Franklin brought in two four-star QBs in the 2019 class, Michael Johnson Jr. and Taquan Roberson, who both enrolled early. They also have no established top targets in the 2020 class as of yet.
Again, Penn State signed two highly-ranked backs in this class Noah Cain and Devyn Ford, so they have wrapped everything in that regard. Given their depth for the coming seasons and this cycle's success at the position, they'll look to bring in one elite RB in 2020. With Marshawn Lloyd, Chris Tyree, Jalen Berger, and Michael Drennen as all realistic options, they should be able to keep up their hot streak of running backs.
With the all the graduations and transfers, and only signing one receiver in this class to date (John Dunmore), they'll look to add at least one more. The most popular name is TJ Jones (Lake City, Fla.). They seem to be content with the low numbers as 2020 holds the grand prize of the entire class for PSU: Julian Fleming. Even if they strike out on another WR for this class, all will be okay if they can secure Fleming.
With Brenton Strange in the fold, that's all for 2019.
There is still one massive target left on the board, and I mean that in the most literal sense. Doug Nester is a 6-6.5, 300-plus pound behemoth and the staff's top target remaining. They're putting all of their energy into this one, even if it'll be tough to pull him from the Buckeyes.
This is where we'll likely see the most action. The top target among this group, D'Von Ellies (Owings Mills, Md.), is one the Lions stand in a very good position for and he'd fill a great need at DT. Jared Harrison-Hunte (Middle Village, NY) is another interior option, although he's clearly very interested in Miami. If Harrison-Hunte does in fact head south, they'll try to pull someone else from the South, Jaquaze Sorrells (Orlando, Fla.). He may be a long shot at this point, but if they can get him to visit, all bets are off. Smith Vilbert (Montvale, NJ) is another piece they'd love to add as a long-term project with elite measurables. In an interesting twist, Penn State also just offered Germany-based Joseph Darkwa. The 6-5 prospect has seen his U.S. recruitment sizzle in recent weeks.
In 2020, they stand in great position for guys like Bryan Bresee, Demon Clowney, and Coziah Izzard, so they should be able to pull in the elite talent they've been chasing.
They managed to pull in their top two targets, Brandom Smith and Lance Dixon, both of whom could be spectacular players during their collegiate careers, and the staff is content with just those two rounding out the 2019 class at LB. It also helps that they stand so well with elite prospects in 2020 such as Mekhail Sherman, Antoine Sampah, Kalel Mullings, and Curtis Jacobs, so there is no need to reach for anyone else this cycle.
The staff doesn't appear to be quite done in the defensive backfield. They're still heavily in pursuit of Nick Cross (Hyattsville, Md.) and will get the last word as he is set to officially visit the weekend of Feb. 2, the final weekend before National Signing Day. They've also recently been in contact with MJ Devonshire (Aliquippa, PA), though they may be late to the party on that one.
Had a great talk today with coach terry #weare
— Savage 2.0 (@Mjdevonshirejr) January 11, 2019
Franklin and his staff have another opportunity for an incredible finish to the cycle, so here's to betting they pull off some more victories and continue to solidify their status as elite recruiters.