After initially committing this past summer, 2023 tight end Mega Barnwell has decided to reopen his recruitment and back off from his Penn State pledge.
The 2023 prospect decided to pledge himself to the Nittany Lions during the summer following his freshman year of high school, so a de-commitment isn't terribly surprising here. Very, very few prospects commit to schools that early on and stick with the same school all the way through. There are simply too many variables (coaching changes, depth chart situations, new offers, etc.) that play a part in the process to expect a high schooler to know exactly what they want in a school that early on.
That said, James Franklin and his staff will surely do what they can in order to get Barnwell back on board with the time comes. When the recruiting sites begin ranking 2023 prospects, Barnwell is expected to not only be one of, if not the top-ranked tight end, but a top-100 type player nationally.
Barnwell will surely be interested in seeing how new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich deploys the tight end in his offense, though with the position being a major strength for the Nittany Lions, it would be a surprise to see it neglected.
Aside from Penn State, Barnwell holds offers from several schools including Nebraska, Ole Miss, Pitt, Tennessee, USC, and Virginia Tech.
Brian Dohn of 247Sports completed an early scouting report of Barnwell that reads as follows.
Great frame with ability to play at 260 pounds. Has length and wide shoulders. Also plays basketball, which is a great asset for tight ends. Possesses excellent body control and has high-level athleticism given his age (15 in April 2020) and size. Best suited as an inline tight end with ability to split out. Can sink hips when run blocking and blocks with attitude. As pass catcher, tracks ball well and has soft hands. Is not afraid of catching ball in traffic. Locates ball well. Needs to add strength throughout his body but will come over time. Rounds his breaks a bit but has plenty of time to develop that area of game. Has chance to be a starter first day of college. Elite level prospect for Top 10 programs.
With the de-commitment of Barnwell, Penn State's 2023 class loses its only current member. Though for reference, only six schools currently hold 2023 commits (Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Boston College, Miami, Rutgers).