2021 Recruiting Class Preview: Offense

By Michael Stanley on March 3, 2020 at 8:30 am
Four-star offensive tackle Landon Tengwall is one of the most important offensive targets in the 2021 recruiting class for Penn State.

With the long recruiting dead period that followed National Signing Day finally complete, now is as good a time as any to dive headfirst into the 2021 recruiting class, who Penn State is targeting, and where they stand with those top targets.

As per usual, not all of these names will remain on Penn State's radar throughout the cycle, and many, many more names will join them. But here are the players that the Nittany Lions are targeting at this point in time.

2021 Quarterback Targets
Name Rating Ranking High School Height/Weight Highlights
Caleb Williams
#1 QB
#1 in DC
Gonzaga (Washington, DC) 6'2/209 Hudl
Christian Veilleux
#15 QB
#13 in MD
The Bullis School (Potomac, MD) 6'3.5/201 Hudl

The top quarterback in the nation, Caleb Williams is coveted by every program in the country that doesn't already have a quarterback committed for 2021. Penn State is still a suitor for his services but will have to get him back on campus for another visit before they can be seen as a favorite. Williams has been very calculated so far throughout his process, and meeting new offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca and discussing what the offense could look like with the two working together will surely be important to him.

A Canadian native, Christian Veilleux brings an exciting level of potential. While he has work to do with his fundamentals, he's an exciting playmaker at the quarterback position and Penn State is in a good spot as he is a frequent visitor to Happy Valley. Veilleux is classified as a pro-style quarterback, but has impressive athleticism and will surprise defenders at the next level with his running ability, similar to current starting quarterback Sean Clifford.

2021 Running Back Targets
Name Rating Ranking High School Height/Weight Highlights
TreVeyon Henderson
#2 RB
#3 in VA
Hopewell (Hopewell, VA) 5'11/195 Hudl
Evan Pryor
#5 RB
#4 in NC
William Amos Hough (Cornelius, NC) 5'10/190 Hudl

Arguably the most electric offensive player in the nation, TreVeyon Henderson brings burst, vision, elusiveness, and a devastating jump-cut. The big-play back will take his time with his recruitment, and while Penn State is in it, they have work to do if they're going to land his pledge. He has become one of the most sought-after players in the country, and despite the Nittany Lions' recent success in Virginia, Henderson will be a nationally-recruited prospect.

Evan Pryor is a well-rounded back and he displays good hands out of the backfield. The blue-chip back has made several visits to Penn State in the past and has an older sister currently enrolled in Happy Valley, so the familiarity with the school is hard to ignore. Pryor recently named the Lions as part of his top-six schools, so Franklin and his staff are in a good place here.

If the early returns are any indication, Ja'Juan Seider is going to have yet another blue-chip back at his disposal in the backfield a year from now, and perhaps two.

2021 Wide Receiver Targets
Name Rating Ranking High School Height/Weight Highlights
Dont'e Thornton
#6 WR
#2 in MD
Mount Saint Joseph (Baltimore, MD) 6'4.5/185 Hudl
Jalil Farooq
#21 WR
#6 in MD
Dr. Henry Wise (Upper Marlboro, MD) 6'0.5/191 Hudl
Bralon Brown
#25 WR
#35 in FL
Chaminade-Madonna Prep (FL) 6'2/190 Hudl
Kaden Prather
#50 WR
#14 in MD
Northwest (Germantown, MD) 6'3/210 Hudl
Liam Clifford*
#41 ATH
#21 in OH
St. Xavier (Cincinnati, OH) 6'1/195 Hudl

A one-time Penn State commit, Dont'e Thornton decided to open things up with hopes of visiting more schools. Even still, he's found his way back to State College on more than one occasion and remains the staff's top target at the position. It's not every day that a recruit de-commits from a program and ends up re-committing later on, but with Thornton, that may just be what happens.

Jalil Farooq is a big-play machine and one who the Nittany Lions would love to add to their stable of receivers. He's a well-rounded talent with big-play ability and could be someone who gets on the field early and often as a true freshman. As time has gone on, Farooq has become more and more coveted across the country, so despite playing in a state the Lions have recruited very well in (Maryland), it will be a battle.

Bralon Brown is intriguing. If he were to announce a commitment today, it appears that Penn State would be the pick. But the Florida native could always be tempted by an offer from the hometown Gators, which could throw a wrench into things here. Still, Brown is a legit prospect and one who could very easily be the next to join Penn State's class.

Kaden Prather has racked up the offers these past few months. He's one of the best receivers in the DMV, and this feels like one that will stay relatively close to home, which should benefit both Penn State and Maryland as he earns more and more interest.

Already committed to Penn State, Liam Clifford could end up at either safety or receiver, although many believe his highest potential is at receiver.

2021 Tight End Targets
Name Rating Ranking High School Height/Weight Highlights
Brock Bowers
#3 TE
#11 in CA
Napa (Napa, CA) 6'3/225 Hudl
Moliki Matavao
#4 TE
#1 in NV
Liberty (Henderson, NV) 6'6/240 Hudl
Lake McRee
#18 TE
#59 in TX
Lake Travis (Austin, TX) 6'4/217 Hudl

One of the most athletically gifted tight ends in the country, Brock Bowers would be a home run recruit. He'll be making a swing through the Midwest and Northeast to multiple schools over the first week of March, including Penn State. The interest seems legitimate, but it will still be a tough pull for the Lions to grab a blue-chip tight end from California, a state in which James Franklin has yet to have any consistent success.

Holding offers from some of the best programs in the country, Moliki Matavao will be one of the biggest guys in the locker room from day one, no matter where he ends up. Matavao is one of the prospects who received an offer as it became clear that previous commit Nick Elksnis would be de-committing (likely) in favor of Florida.

Recently de-committed from the Texas Longhorns, Lake McRee will take time to explore all of his new options. Penn State will have to get him on campus if they want to have any shot with the Austin native.

2021 Offensive Line Targets
Name Rating Ranking High School Height/Weight Highlights
Nolan Rucci
#3 OT
#1 in PA
Warwick (Lititz, PA) 6'8/266 Hudl
Tristan Leigh
#4 OT
#2 in VA
Robinson Secondary (Fairfax, VA) 6'5/275 Hudl
Landon Tengwall
#7 OT
#1 in MD
Good Counsel (Olney, MD) 6'6/300 Hudl
Wyatt Milum
#13 OT
#2 in WV
Spring Valley (Huntington, WV) 6'6/273 Hudl
Rocco Spindler
#2 OG
#3 in MI
Clarkston (Clarkston, MI) 6'4.5/295 Hudl
Garrett Dellinger
#12 OT
#5 in MI
Clarkston (Clarkston, MI) 6'6/280 Hudl
Nate Bruce*
#33 OG
#14 in PA
Harrisburg (Harrisburg, PA) 6'4/320 Hudl

Things are setting up very nicely for Penn State's 2021 offensive line haul to be one of the best in the country, and one of the best in school history. It starts with Nolan Rucci, whose father played for the Nittany Lions and whose brother currently plays at Wisconsin. The five-star prospect has limitless potential. While there are legitimate pulls in other directions for the top-15 prospect, Penn State sits in a great position to land him.

Tristan Leigh is one who has shot up the rankings since the 2021 class started to be put under a more powerful microscope. Now ranking as the second-highest-rated player among Penn State's targets, Leigh is continuing to garner national attention. The interest is there, and Lions247 insider Sean Fitz has a crystal ball logged in favor of the Nittany Lions, but Leigh's recruitment seems to take on a more country-wide feel each day with Clemson and Alabama now heavily in the mix.

Landon Tengwall has long been seen as a heavy Penn State lean and is the closest thing to a Lion lock among this group. The high four-star prospect is a gifted lineman who should have the flexibility to play on the interior or the edge of the line, which is something that Franklin and his staff have always coveted among their offensive linemen. It's hard to see Tengwall going anywhere other than Penn State.

Wyatt Milum is the somewhat forgotten man among the four who have been on the radar seemingly forever (joining Rucci, Leigh, and Tengwall), but has just as much talent and interest as the other three. The West Virginia-native took two late-2019 visits to Happy Valley and is another big-time target for the staff.

Rocco Spindler and Garrett Dellinger both hail from the same Michigan high school, and both took their interest to Penn State to a new level after visiting for Junior Day just ahead of Signing Day in February. Spindler seems the more realistic option of the two, especially after including the Lions in his top 10, but these recruitments both will still drag on for some time.

Nate Bruce, the other current commit in the 2021 class, was involved in one of the stranger recruiting happenings so far in 2020. In mid-February, the Harrisburg product took to Twitter to announce that he was re-opening his recruitment, only to close it back up and reaffirm his Penn State commitment on the same day.

Be sure to check back to Roar Lions Roar on Wednesday to see a break down of the targets on the defensive side of the ball, but in the meantime, let us know in the comments below who your "must-have" prospect on the offensive side of the ball is.