Defensive Tackles on Defensive Tackles on Defensive Tackles
Going into last week, Penn State held commitments from exactly zero defensive tackles. Now, they hold commitments from three of them. Michael Dwumfour (De Paul Catholic, NJ), Ellison Jordan (Gilman, MD) and Christian Colón (Independence, NC) are all now set to be Coach Chaos' newest wild dogs on the defensive line, and each brings something a little bit different to the table.
Michael Dwumfour is the wild card of the group. As we pointed out in our Oh, Hello post the other day, Dwumfour is extremely athletic, garnering a SPARQ rating of 93.36 (for reference, Reggie Bush had a SPARQ score of 93.38). He hasn't quite put it all together on the field just yet, but he has ideal athleticism and great physical traits for Sean Spencer and Dwight Galt to work with. On tape, he shows a quick first step, but it's inconsistent at this point. He also shows off some nice pass rushing moves and a solid run defending presence. He will almost certainly be someone who takes a redshirt to learn the intricacies of playing at the college level, and continue to add to his knowledge of the game.
Although it's a lazy comparison on the surface, Christian Colón and Ellison Jordan have a chance to be a very similar duo to current Penn State defensive tackles, Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel. Similarly to Johnson, Colón has a chance to be a space-eating, run stopping beast along the defensive line. He already has great size, standing at 6'3" and 309 pounds, and he will only continue to grow into his large frame. Right next to him on the line, may very well be the shorter and quicker, Ellison Jordan. Just like Anthony Zettel (although he is shorter than Zettel), Jordan possesses a very quick first step and active hands just like another former Penn State defensive tackle, Jordan Hill. Ellison, while a solid run defender at the high school level, will likely find his place as a pass rusher at the collegiate level. His speed off the snap is truly a weapon, and will be tough for a lot of interior linemen to handle.
So to sum all of that up, Penn State now finds itself with an über-athletic ball of clay, a future run-stuffing dominator and a fleet-footed pass rusher, all at the defensive tackle position. Sounds like a good week.
Smothers Down to Six
Four star wide receiver Steven Smothers (Reisterstown, MD) recently narrowed his recruitment down to a top six group of schools.
I spoke with Smothers about his top six this weekend, and he confirmed to me that his list is, in fact, in order. He said that his visits to campus and his relationships with the coaching staff have been the main factors driving the Nittany Lions further up his list. He talked a bit about when he first received his offer and what his perception was back then, as well.
"As soon as Coach Franklin got hired, I had an offer. That whole week, he was just offering straight skill dudes that ran between 4.4s and 4.3s or 4.5s, so he went straight after the speed, which Penn State needs. Coach Gattis, Coach Spence, Coach Franklin, I'm just really comfortable with those guys. My mom got to visit, and now Penn State is her favorite school, so that was real big, if my mom liked it."
Smothers knows that Penn State has been lacking the speedy, slot receiver types in the past few years, and the idea of being one of the first of a new style of receiver at Penn State in some time is very appealing to him.
"Penn State, they've never really had a skill position dude of my stature as a slot and returner. When you think about Penn State, you think about linebacker or running back or something else, you don't really think of a slot or a flashy, straight speed dude. So I would kind of be the first of my kind. That's really big for me."
Steven knows of Brandon Polk as well, and loves the idea of playing with him in college.
"Brandon's already there, so if I commit, me and Brandon Polk in the slot, that's a coach's worst nightmare right there. We're both 4.4 guys. I'm a little taller, so having me on the outside and him in the slot, or both of us at kick return or me at kick return and him at punt return. That's a lot of speed.
He also talked with me about his current leader, West Virginia. He told me that one of the driving forces behind his interest in the Mountaineers is his relationship with his cousin, Tavon Austin. Austin hyped him up a ton during his time there, and the coaching staff took major notice. Smothers has also been able to visit Morgantown 10 or 11 times. He's very comfortable there, and knows how strong the pipeline is from the Baltimore area. He has lots of friends at the school. He loves the team atmosphere and the fan atmosphere, as well. He loves West Virginia, and isn't sure any other school will be able to give him the same feeling of comfort.
When I asked him how far ahead West Virginia is of Penn State and the other schools on his list, he had the following to say.
"It's a big lead, but...like, I can call Coach Galloway or Coach Holgorsen right now and ask them how are you going to use me? And they can automatically tell me. Other schools can tell me, but they can really give me an example, like of Tavon, and say this is how we'll use you. I mean, it's big, but Penn State is not that far off."
Smothers plans on attending the Lasch Bash in late July, as well as the camp around that time, although he's not sure if he'll participate in the camp. He doesn't have any sort of set date, but he is very wary of waiting around too long. He's aware of some cases in the past where a recruit wanted to wait until closer to Signing Day, only to see their spot disappear. He said that we should expect to see him committed to a school by the end of his upcoming season at the very latest.
Phillip Patterson Narrows it Down
Phillip Patterson (Bayside, VA), is a three star wide receiver from Virginia Beach who earned his Penn State offer back in late April after an unofficial visit to campus. Now, he's narrowed things down to his top six (in no order).
Penn State has become a serious competitor since offering, and will continue to be involved until the end here.
The Opening Rosters Set
The team rosters for the festivities in Oregon next weekend are all set and ready to roll. Two of the teams should be of high interest for Penn State fans.
(Yes, I know the team names are strange)
Team SuperBad has Penn State commit DE Shane Simmons, as well as various Penn State targets. Those targets are TE Naseir Upshur, 2017 RB D'Andre Swift, LB Aaron Hansford, ATH Jordan Fuller and ATH Trevon Diggs (although Diggs hardly registers as a target at this point). Simmons will certainly be putting his recruiter's hat on next weekend, as he has some work to do.
The other team Penn State fans should watch closely is Team MachSpeed. They will be led by Penn State commits QB Jake Zembiec, Miles Sanders and LaVert Hill. There aren't any other current Penn State targets on the squad with those three, but it's certainly possible that someone will catch wind of all the blue and white talk and become at least minimally interested*.
*this won't actually happen, don't get your hopes up unnecessarily
A Quinn Nordin Update
The nation's #1 kicker/punter recruit, Quinn Nordin, is nearing a decision, according to Rivals. Those schools that he will focus his remaining energy on are Penn State, Michigan, Arizona State and Georgia. I spoke with Quinn last week about where his recruitment stands.
The thee star composite placekicker told me that although he has that top four, Michigan and Penn State are the two standing out for him, and he plans on visiting Michigan as soon as he gets home from his vacation. The Rockford, MI product also told me that he was excited about Blake Gillikin's commitment to Penn State, and that the two are friends and have spoken previously about playing together in college.
It will still be a very tough pull for Penn State to bring Nordin in, considering the Wolverines are giving him the opportunity to play both lacrosse and football. The Nittany Lions were still his first major offer that is still in play (Iowa being the other, but they've since been left behind), and Quinn still remembers that. This one will come to an end soon, with the Michigan visit being the last one that will take place before the decision (at least, as of last week).
Tight End U
It appears that Penn State will only take one tight end this cycle, barring something unforeseen. Their three remaining tight end targets going into last week were Cary Angeline (Downingtown East (PA)), Naseir Upshur (Imhotep Institute (PA)) and Luke Farrell (Perry (OH)). Now as things stand, the Nittany Lions will likely stick with Daniel Dalton, and be happy with him. Luke Farrell still remains a remote possibility, but with Angeline's recent commitment, he is likely Notre Dame's number one tight end target now. Penn State is still recruiting him, but likely not with the same vigor that the Fighting Irish are.
Cary Angeline decided to shock the recruiting world, and commit to USC. He had visited USC once before, but it wasn't public knowledge that they were even on his radar. Even though he chose against the Nittany Lions, it's always kind of fun to see a recruit who seldom talks to the media and then makes a decision that seemingly comes out of left field.
Upshur has really only been a Penn State target based on early events in his recruitment. It seems that the Lions have been eliminated by this point.
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That's all for today. And remember, recruiting can always be summarized as the following.