No one has been recruiting four-star Ohio wide receiver Kaden Saunders for as long as James Franklin and Penn State. That diligence has paid off, as the top receiver in the Buckeye State has verbally committed to the Nittany Lions.
Penn State offered Saunders in March of 2019 during his first unofficial visit to Happy Valley. They were the second program to offer him, after Michigan State the previous month. Saunders made his way back to campus just two months later, and twice more during the 2019 season, including the White Out Victory over Michigan.
The Saunders File
- Class: 2022
- Size: 5'10, 172 lbs.
- Pos: WR
- School: Westerville, OH (Westerville South)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★ (.9343)
- Composite Rank: No. 170 overall, No. 21 WR
In addition to the Lions and Spartans, Saunders hauled in offeres from the likes of Stanford, Texas, TCU, Notre Dame, West Virginia, and Michigan. The Horned Frogs, Fighting Irish, Mountaineers, and Wolverines were joined in an early-June top-seven along with Penn State, Arizona State, and Indiana.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, new wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield has yet to meet Saunders face-to-face. However, both he, and Franklin deserve plenty of credit for not allowing the coaching change, or new recruiting landscape to impact the relationship. Saunders' commitment should also be a welcome sight for fans looking for Stubblefield to make his mark on the recruiting trail.
Saunders' Westerville South High School should sound familiar to longtime Nittany Lion fans as well. The suburban Columbus program is the alma mater of Nittany Lion legend Ki-Jana Carter.
On the field, Saunders has the game-breaking ability not only of Carter, but recent Penn State star K.J. Hamler. He has high end speed, and an elite ability to make guys miss in the open field, two traits that made Hamler a fan-favorite in Happy Valley.
Saunders is the first member of Penn State's 2022 class. For early scoreboard watchers, that is good enough to put the Nittany Lions at No. 11 nationally. That number could grow in just a couple of days too. 2022 Four-star Wisconsin tight end prospect Jerry Cross is expected to announce his own commitment on Tuesday, deciding between Penn State and his home state Badgers.