Penn State's top target in the 2021 recruiting class, and the top player in Pennsylvania is heading to Wisconsin. Five-star offensive tackle Nolan Rucci has verbally committed to the Badgers.
Rucci, the son of former Nittany Lion offensive lineman Todd, has been at the very top of James Franklin's 2021 board since earning his Penn State offer in 2021. The Lions were a steady presence throughout his recruitment, along with the Badgers, Clemson, Notre Dame, and others.
Things started to change, however, with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March. Not only was Rucci unable to spend much face-to-face time with new offensive line coach Phil Trautwein, older brother Hayden, a redshirt freshman tight end for Wisconsin, returned home as well.
The presence of his brother, as well as a familiarity with the Badger program clearly played a role in pushing Nolan to Madison. It doesn't hurt that Wisconsin's track record of putting linemen into the NFL is unmatched by practically every program in the country.
Penn State's 2021 class remains at just 13 members. Franklin's lone hope for a big in-state win now comes down to Gateway four-star safety Derrick Davis, who has yet to make his commitment timeline known.