Welcome to the early signing period for the 2022 recruiting class here at Roar Lions Roar. Make sure to check out all of our other coverage today and in the coming days, and make sure to check out each profile of the newest Nittany Lions as they sign their letters of intent. (All photos you see below are courtesy of 247Sports)
Maryland has always been a recruiting hotbed for Penn State and that continues with the signing of four-star safety KJ Winston.
|Height/Weight: 6'1/190 lbs.|
|High School: DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD)|
|247Composite Rank: ★★★★(0.8937)|
|Positional Rank: No. 350 Overall, No. 29 Safety, No. 7 in Maryland|
|Commitment Date: July 31, 2021|
Penn State was one of the first schools to offer Winston, doing so in May of 2020.
At 6'1/190, he's built to play a Marcus Allen-esque type of safety for Penn State, bringing some physicality to the secondary. He has better ball skills than the now-Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, but he hits in a similar fashion. His man-to-man coverage skills are most effective when pressing the slot, but he has the necessary speed to cover outside the numbers.
An impressive senior season even saw Winston capture the Defensive Player of the Year honor for the Washington Post's All-Met team. Given the talent in the area, that is an incredibly impressive honor for the DeMatha prospect.
Winston will need to add some weight to his frame but there is a chance he can push for early playing time, given the question marks at safety right now. He has to continue to work on lateral movement and opening hips to turn and run in coverage, and also needs to continue to increase his lower body flexibility to improve change of direction.
Still, Winston is one of the most skilled players in the class and is the type of player who simply gets on the field and makes plays. Don't be surprised to see him produce for the Nittany Lions earlier than perhaps expected.