Welcome to Black Shoe Diaries' coverage of National Signing Day 2016. Our goal is to make sure that you know everything you need to know about every member of Penn State's 2016 recruiting class, including what fans should expect from them, some highlight tape and more. We truly appreciate you taking the time to follow along with our coverage of all things Penn State recruiting-related over the past year, and we can't wait to continue to ramp up our coverage for 2017. So whether you've been reading the site for years, or a first-time reader who just stumbled upon Black Shoe Diaries, we hope you stick around.
With National Signing Day just a week away, we're kicking off our coverage by introducing the early enrollees. We continue our coverage with Connor McGovern.
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The great thing about Connor McGovern, above his ability as an offensive linemen or the fact that he plays a huge position of need for the Nittany Lions, is that his dedication the Penn State is unparalleled by any other recruit in this class. McGovern made it up to every home game that James Franklin and co. played this year, which should endear himself to a lot of Penn State fans. It also helps that, you know, he's really good at football. The No. 3 center in America per 247 Sports, McGovern has been praised for his ability and understanding of the game that goes beyond his years, to the point that some think he can play immediately. Whether or not remains to be seen, but one thing's for sure – Franklin hauled in a long-term solution at a position of need when McGovern committed to the program last March.
|High School||Lake-Lehman (Pa.)|
|Positional Rank||#271 player overall, #3 center, #7 player in Pennsylvania|
|Commitment Date||March 20, 2015|
The thing that makes McGovern such an intriguing prospect is that he's way more refined than you'd expect for an incoming freshman. Sure, he's like every freshman offensive lineman in that he needs to bulk up and get a little stronger, but for the most part, he's more polished than you'd expect from a young guy. He is an especially good run blocker, as he's physical at the point of attack and is able to drive defenders, and with some work during spring ball, he can possibly round out his ability as a pass blocker. Sure, he needs to get a lot of reps – as does every 18-year-old offensive lineman – but McGovern could very well end up being a stalwart on the Nittany Lions' offensive line sooner rather than later.
McGovern is in the most unique spot of any incoming recruit. We know that the plan under Franklin's plan for offensive linemen has been "redshirt as a freshman, sit out as a sophomore, contribute as a junior," but McGovern could blow up that entire timeline and play right away. Penn State also has a question mark at center, where there are a few options – namely Wendy Laurent and Ryan Bates – but none are as natural of a center as McGovern. Given the fact that he enrolled early and everyone who has seen him play has said that he could start from day one, it's kind of hard to see McGovern redshirting. He may not begin the season as a starting lineman, but there's a good chance he finishes the year as one.