James Franklin has the first post-early signing day pledge for the class of 2019 as composite three-star defensive end Smith Vilbert (Montvale, NJ) committed to Penn State on Friday afternoon.
Vilbert focused solely on football during his senior year and saw his recruitment explode this fall following his first foray onto the gridiron.
The Vilbert File
- Class: 2019
- Size: 6-6/250
- Pos: DE
- School: St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, NJ)
- Composite Rating: ★★★
- Composite Rank: No. 679 overall (No. 49 SDE)
The Nittany Lions beat out a late push from Florida and sustained pressure from Oregon, Vilbert's first offer. He also had offers from Nebraska, Florida State, Miami, Virginia, North Carolina, Boston College, Baylor, and Pitt. Vilbert took official visits to Oregon, Penn State, and Florida.
Let's be clear, Vilbert is a raw athlete and will need time to acclimate to college football from a skills and technique perspective. He has all the physical tools, but only one year of high school football experience. Sean Spencer is used to that combination, as fellow New Jersey native Jayson Oweh followed a similar basketball-to-football path to Penn State.
From Brian Dohn at 247Sports:
Long, big frame with wide shoulders. Is 6-6, 250 and can play at 270 on the edge. Length is impressive and he uses it well. Former basketball player who concentrated on football as a senior. Great burst at snap and has speed off the edge. Has strength to disengage and changes direction well for player his size. Good body control. Possesses closing speed. Quick learner and transitions practice field lessons to games. Moves well laterally and chases plays down on the back side. Improved technique is a must. Needs to learn to use combo moves. Increasing ability to bend at knees will help with leverage at point of attack and against run. Lacks experience. Has to improve lower body strength. Two- to three- year starter at strong Power 5 program and mid-level NFL draft pick.
Vilbert is the 19th commitment in Penn State's 2019 class, which holds steady at No. 11 in the country according to 247Sports Composite Team Rankings.