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Committany Nation: Predicting the Penn State Class of 2016

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Recruiting for the Class of 2016 at Penn State kicks into high gear this weekend with Junior Day. We take a look at who may make up the class about one year from now.

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Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program. The best teams in the country bring in wave after wave of top talent, year after year. Penn State of course signed a consensus top-15 class just a few weeks ago, and is off to a great start with 4 top end commitments for the 2016 class. Over 50 prospects will be in Happy Valley this weekend for Junior Day, several of which figure to ultimately make up the Class of 2016 when all is said and done.

With that in mind, Nick and I thought it would be fun to take a stab at predicting the players that will sign with PSU in about 11 months. For our purposes, we are capping the class at 20 members, although much will change on that front over the coming months.

As you have no doubt realized, we are more than comfortable making fun of ourselves. I mention that only because when we come back to these in February of 2016, there will likely be some comically bad predictions.

*-Current commits

Matt

  1. Shane Simmons* (DE)
  2. Miles Sanders* (RB)
  3. Jake Zembiec* (Pro-QB)
  4. Lavert Hill* (CB)
  5. Quinn Nordin (K/P)
  6. Damar Hamlin (CB)
  7. Michael Menet (OT)
  8. Cary Angeline (TE)
  9. Tre Nixon (WR)
  10. Connor McGovern (C)
  11. Andrew Pryts (S)
  12. Will Fries (OT)
  13. Terrance Davis (OG)
  14. Ellison Jordan (DT)
  15. Terrell Hall (DE)
  16. Jordan Fuller (ATH)
  17. Khaleke Hudson (S/ATH)
  18. Karamo Dioubate (DT)
  19. Ron Johnson (DE)
  20. Patrice Rene (CB/S)

For some reason, despite a lifetime of Cleveland sports fandom, I am quite the optimist when it comes to my teams. Given the start to the 2016 class, and the buzz around the program after a very strong 2015 class, and, you would think, a strong 2015 season upcoming, Penn State should be in the upper reaches of the recruiting rankings a year from now.

Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of work to do with many of the players listed above, but with things really picking up starting this weekend for PSU's 2016 recruiting efforts, I expect Coach Franklin and the staff to generate the type of momentum they had on the recruiting trail this time a year ago.

If the wins come, and the trajectory of the program remains strong, I would not be surprised to see a big fish or two (cough cough Rashan Gary cough Jauan Williams) to jump on board.

Nick

Before I start, forgive me if a lot of my list is similar to Matt's but Penn State's main targets seem pretty clear at this point in time. Obviously those "main targets" will change as time goes on, but as of right now, these are the guys, it would seem.
  1. Shane Simmons* (DE)
  2. Miles Sanders* (RB)
  3. Jake Zembiec* (Pro-QB)
  4. Lavert Hill* (CB)
  5. Michal Menet (OT)
  6. Cary Angeline (TE)
  7. Tre Nixon (WR)
  8. Trevon Diggs (WR)
  9. Patrice Rene (CB/S)
  10. Terrell Hall (DE)
  11. Damar Hamlin (CB)
  12. Connor McGovern (C)
  13. Quinn Nordin (K/P)
  14. Ron Johnson (DE)
  15. Will Fries (OT)
  16. Terrance Davis (OG)
  17. Ellison Jordan (DT)
  18. Karamo Dioubate (DE/DT)
  19. Andrew Pryts (S)
  20. Rashan Gary (DT)/Steven Smothers (ATH)/Jordan Fuller (ATH)

Call it a hunch, but I think Franklin's going to land one very big fish in this class (at least) who isn't currently expected to be a Nittany Lion. Rashan Gary and Steven Smothers would both fit that bill. It will take a herculean effort both by the staff and by the team on the field this season (Smothers told me a while back that his interest in Penn State will grow exponentially if he sees them in a BCS bowl game), but I think it's possible. Aside from that last spot, the main pick I have right now that seems most unlikely is Trevon Diggs. I wouldn't call the Nittany Lions anything close to a favorite at this point in time, but I just see Diggs as a Lion. Part of that though, is dependent on Dwayne Haskins. If Haskins ends up at Maryland, I think there's a great shot that we see Diggs follow him there. The other names on this list that will be most difficult for the staff to pull in (in my opinion) will be Michal Menet, Terrance Davis and Ellison Jordan.

It's way too early still to know what "The Movement" is really going to entail for Maryland. For those unaware, it's what the idea of all the 2016 DMV prospects becoming Terps is being called, and it's an interesting thing to watch. If Edsall can succeed in pulling all these guys in, Maryland will be bringing in more talent they may have ever brought in before in one class. If those kids start going elsewhere, Penn State is going to be a beneficiary of a lot of that talent, including Diggs, Williams, Jordan and others.