Tight End recruiting turnover
Penn State's production at the tight end position over the previous four seasons has put the Nittany Lions on the radar of just about every top prospect at the position. A pair of those targets announced decisions earlier this week. However, without the benefit of hosting either for an on-campus visit, it was a tall task to convince either to call Happy Valley home. 2021 Four-star tight ends, Jack Pugh and Moliki Matavao announced commitments to Wisconsin and Oregon, respectively.
100% COMMITTED pic.twitter.com/sS1BNAfGWD— Moliki Matavao (@MatavaoMoliki) May 28, 2020
Where the staff will turn their attention to is unclear, especially with campus visits off of the table through summer. The No. 3 tight end in the nation, Brock Bowers (Napa, CA), has always been a top target, but the 247 Crystal Ball indicates a strong lean to Georgia. James Franklin will be hard-pressed to turn that tide if he can't get Bowers to State College. Pennsylvania three-star prospect Khalil Dinkins is one to keep an eye on going forward.
I want to Thank All of the Coaches that have believed in my potential & offered me opportunities to play football on the next level. Although My Recruitment is Still Open, I will be Focusing on these 15 schools at the moment... #ClearEyeView #Blessed #Honored @QO_FOOTBALL pic.twitter.com/MmLOnUtiDk— Ryan Bo Barnes (@Bo11Ryan) May 26, 2020
Unfortunately, Penn State missed the cut for another top target. Four-star wide receiver and former Nittany Lion commit Dont'e Thornton released a top-six that didn't feature Penn State.
While incredibly rare to secure another commitment from a recruit that has already decommitted once, Penn State still felt good about their continued pursuit of the Maryland wideout. With a decision set for January 2021, there's still plenty of time to get back into it for Thornton, but this is a hit nonetheless.
Dead Period extended again
Finally, in a very un-surprising move, the NCAA extended the Covid-19 related dead period through the end of July earlier this week. The recruiting calendar already had a month-long dead period built in from June 24 through July 24, so this latest adjustment is mostly just a formality.
While recruiting is certainly critical, numerous coaches had expressed a desire to focus more on their current players as they return to campus after months away, rather than splitting time between them and recruiting prospects.