Welcome to early signing period for the 2019 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)
With the departure of Mark Allen, Jonathan Thomas, and possibly Miles Sanders, James Franklin has made his intentions clear of signing two running backs in this class. He has achieved just that, locking down Noah Cain during the first day of the early signing period.
|Position: Running back|
|Height/Weight: 5'10/208 lbs.|
|High School: IMG Academy (FL)|
|247Composite Rank: ★★★★(0.9529)|
|Positional Rank: No. 104 Overall, No. 7 Running back, No. 14 in Florida|
|Commitment Date: December 19, 2018|
247Sports Scouting Report
Broad-shouldered, stout running back with high-volume ability. Owns college-ready size, but frame ceiling is limited. Prototypical body and overall build for an every-down back who can carry the ball 20-plus times a game if needed. Runs with encouraging pad level and leverage consistency. Runs behind his pads and rarely gets pushed back at the end of a run. Willing to finish runs with authority. Flashes impressive close-quarters agility, especially relative to 212-pound listing. Good vision. Patient runner. Shows very good balance with body control to gain yards after contact and in traffic. Runs through glancing blows. Dependable between-the-tackles banger. More than willing to take what the defense will give. Has tested well in combine environment, but can improve top gear in his long speed. Grind-it-out back who can improve home run-hitting ability. Limited opportunities as a receiver out of the backfield. Potential to develop into NFL draft pick, possibly in the earlier rounds. (More at 247Sports)
NFL Comparison: Alfred Morris
Noah Cain has been in the spotlight of the college football recruiting world since his freshman year where he ran for 1,083 yards and followed that up with 1,683 yards his sophomore year. He made a name for himself immediately, once ranking as the top-rated running back in the class, and chose to continue his development at IMG Academy in Florida.
While Cain may not have the jump-cut of Saquon or elite breakaway speed, he brings a physical running style to the Penn State backfield. At 5'10, 208 pounds it’s easy to see that he is already physically built for college football with even more room to put on muscle. In his senior season at IMG, he even showed an ability to be an efficient pass-catcher, which is pivotal to his role in the Penn State offense. His style should be a great compliment to Devyn Ford and vice versa.
Cain's future as a true freshman is difficult to peg. Even if Miles Sanders does enter the NFL Draft, there are numerous capable backs in the stable. Ricky Slade showed tremendous promise in his true freshman season and could very well become the No. 1 option in the backfield. The staff has also been open about their infatuation with Journey Brown and his progression thus far. The former four-star prospect and Notre Dame commit C.J. Holmes is also on campus as a walk-on who will be eligible in 2019. Penn State also brought in another highly-ranked running back in this class—Devyn Ford. The most likely scenario is that one of these freshman backs will be redshirted and the other will surpass the four-game limit, so it could come down to who out-performs who in training camp. With Cain set to enroll early and Ford arriving in the summer, Cain could have the upper hand going into any potential position battles. We’ll stick with yellow light for now.
|Miles Sanders||Journey Brown*||Noah Cain|
|Ricky Slade||Devyn Ford|
* denotes redshirt season taken