Committany Nation: Penn State Recruiting Notes (04.17.14)

Penn State Target DE Darius Fullwood

I like the name. I'm keeping it.

James Franklin doesn't sleep.

It's been a busy few weeks in Penn State recruiting, and I have some recruiting nuggets to share, so let's get to it. (Yes, I'm actually bypassing the unnecessarily drawn-out introduction for once.)

  • If you missed it, Adam McLean (DT) (Bethesda, MD) committed to Penn State on Saturday of Blue/White weekend while most of us were tailgating and happily playing along with a surprisingly cooperative day of Happy Valley weather. The signs were there that McLean was going to commit (multiple repeated visits, positive quotes, the usual), but it was still a little surprising to see him pull the trigger so quickly. But we know better than to doubt James Franklin by now. One aspect of McLean's commitment that hasn't been discussed in much detail here yet, is the potential impact it will have on good friend and 3* DE prospect, Darius Fullwood (Good Counsel, MD). Fullwood is already a Penn State target, and likely one of the staff's top options for the defensive end spot. Whether McLean's commitment does indeed affect Fullwood's decision or not is yet to be seen, but it's interesting nonetheless.
  • As I wrote that, I received a call from Darius Fullwood (how convenient!). Darius told me that McLean's commitment is going to have a big effect on his recruitment. The two have talked plenty of of times about playing in college, which pretty clearly works in Penn State's favor. What is not working in their favor however, is that he does not think he'll have the chance to get back to State College before making his final decision. He is planning on naming his official top five sometime in May (his current top schools are Penn State, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, and Miami), and will announce when he is planning on making his final decision at that time. He told me that he is very high on Penn State, and loves what the new staff is doing. He is really drawn to them because of their energy and how the current team has bought into their philosophy already. He is very excited to be one of their targets.
  • 2016 QB Brandon McIlwain (4*) (Newtown, PA) was not able to make his visit up to State College a few weekends ago as originally planned. Since it was a trip centered around his baseball team watching a Penn State Baseball, when the game was rained out the team did not make the trip.
  • I spoke with 2016 recruit, Naseir Upshur (Imhotep, PA) (4*) about his recruitment a bit (we'll talk about his ranking more later). Upshur is one of the highest ranked tight ends in the country for the 2016 cycle (although he is also listed as a defensive end). When I spoke with him about Penn State, he told me that he likes the school a lot, and really likes the coaching staff. He first visited the school back in March, but is planning to visit again soon (within the next month or so) before he begins his tour of west coast schools such as Arizona and Arizona State. He doesn't hold an offer from Penn State just yet, but is being very proactive in contacting coaches of the schools he is interested in, and it sounds like his PSU offer isn't too far away. Although he can play both positions (and play them both well), he does seem like he would prefer to play tight end in college. Sounds like the perfect recruit to restock our tight end depth for when James and Carter leave, huh?
  • In some SB Nation Recruiting news, I realized that I completely forgot to include this in my last update. Bud Elliot and Wescott Eberts have been hard at work putting together scouting reports for tons of the top 2015 prospects. You can find all of the reports right here, but I thought I'd highlight the ones that are especially of interest to Penn State fans. Trent Irwin, Josh Sweat, Justin Hilliard, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Tim Settle, Trent Thompson
  • The big news today in recruiting is the release of the Top 247 rankings for the 2016 class, and the rearrangement of the 2015 recruits. I'll talk about the 2015 list for now, and save the 2016 list for another post.
2015
#8- Trent Thompson (DT) (Albany, GA)- Penn State Target
#13- Justin Hilliard (LB) (Cincinnati, OH)- Penn State Target
#23- Tim Settle (DT) (Manassas, VA)- Penn State Target
#25- Jashon Cornell (DE) (Saint Paul, MN)- Penn State Target
#38- Minkah Fitzpatrick (CB) (Jersey City, NJ)- Penn State Target
#48- Jerome Baker (LB) (Cleveland, OH)- Penn State Target
#52- Brady White (QB) (Newhall, CA)- Penn State Target
#57- Juwan Johnson (WR) (Glassboro, NJ)- Penn State Commit
#69- Steven Gonzalez (OL) (Union City, NJ)- Penn State Commit
#83- John Reid (CB) (Philadelphia, PA)- Penn State Target
#87- Ricky DeBerry (LB) (Richmond, VA)- Penn State Target
#91- Matthew Burrell (OL) (Woodbridge, VA)- Penn State Target
#94- Sterling Jenkins (OL) (Pittsburgh, PA)- Penn State Target
#98- Andre Robinson (RB) (Harrisburg, PA)- Penn State Commit
#100- Van Jefferson (WR) (Brentwood, TN)- Penn State Target
#107- Christian Wilkins (DT) (Suffield, CT)- Penn State Target
#120- Ryan Bates (OL) (Warminster, PA)- Penn State Commit
#151- Austin Clark (OL) (Lexington, VA)- Penn State Target
#155- Josh Barajas (LB) (Merrillville, IN)- Penn State Commit
#164- Adam McLean (DT) (Gaithersburg, MD)- Penn State Commit
#165- Josh Adams (ATH) (Warrington, PA)- Penn State Target
#174- Brandon Wimbush (QB) (Jersey City, NJ)- Penn State Target
#184- Chris Clark (TE) (Avon, CT)- Penn State Target
#185- Grant Newsome (OL) (Trenton, NJ)- Penn State Target
#192- Trent Irwin (WR) (Newhall, CA)- Penn State Target
#199- Irvin Charles (WR) (Haddonfield, NJ)- Penn State Target
#229- Jordan Whitehead (CB) (Monaca, PA)- Penn State Target

Soooooo...yeah. There's obviously a lot to see on this list, so let me break it down a bit. Everyone that I included on this list has legitimate interest in Penn State. There were a few others that have expressed moderate interest, but I chose to exclude to try and cut down the list at least a little bit. I'm not going to go into detail on each player, because that would turn this short article into a 4,000 worder. Instead, I'll organize them into a few separate categories.

Locked Up Looking Good Up in the Air Possible, not Probable Keep Dreaming No Idea, He Doesn’t Talk
Sterling Jenkins John Reid Jerome Baker Minkah Fitzpatrick Trent Thompson Christian Wilkins
Josh Adams Brady White Tim Settle Justin Hilliard
Brandon Wimbush Matthew Burrell Ricky DeBerry Jashon Cornell
Grant Newsome Van Jefferson Trent Irwin
Irvin Charles Austin Clark
Jordan Whitehead Chris Clark

**Note- I went back and added Whitehead. He is #229 on the list, I missed him the first time through.

Some people have been doubting Penn State' position with Josh Adams and John Reid recently. I think this is a little premature. It's easy to assume that their interest is waning since so many of the other top Pennsylvania players have committed already, but the reality is that it is not necessarily normal to see this many player committing so early on, especially by Penn State standards. So although Reid seems to be more and more drawn to Notre Dame as time goes on, don't assume that it's a done deal. His interest in Penn State is very legitimate, as is that of Josh Adams.

The names I listed under "Up in the Air" might be the most intriguing on the chart for me. I've mentioned before my opinion on Brady White and my preference to him over Wimbush. I am very excited for him to visit in the summer, and I think things will be become very clear once that visit occurs. Jerome Baker still has lots of visits to make before coming to a decision, but it seems that this one will end the way is began, with Penn State and Ohio State fighting it out. Austin Clark has been high on Penn State for some time, and his recruitment could come down to how many spots are available for offensive linemen (considering our current depth, it should be plenty). Chris Clark's name has resurfaced since he decommitted from North Carolina. The popular belief is that he will end up at Notre Dame, but I wouldn't count Penn State out just yet, especially given his comments to me a little while back.

I feel the need to address Minkah Fitzpatrick here as well, since I'm sure questions will be asked in the comments section. I'm well aware that in my interview with Steven Gonzalez the other day, he told me that Minkah told him he had Penn State near the top. At this point in time, you should interpret that as Fitzpatrick saying, "I'm not going to eliminate them yet." If and when Fitzpatrick gets on campus and talks to the new staff, I might become more optimistic. As of right now though, I'm assuming he will end up at Alabama.

For the full list of the top 247 2015 recruits, visit 247sports.com.

If you're interested in checking out the top 247 for 2016, that list can be found right here.

That's all I've got for you today. Before you jump down to the comments to complain about the lack of the uncensored recruiting mailbag (it's coming soon, relax), please take the time to donate to We Are! 2014 if you haven't already. Not only does it have everything you need to know about the 2014 team and then some, but Tim Tolley and I have been working hard to give a great preview of the 2014 recruiting class and what they are going to do for the squad next season. This magazine will be worth every penny (which by the way, only has to be 600 of them), and you will regret not getting a copy. Go State.

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