With National Signing Day less than a month away, the time has come for Matt and I to submit to you all our final predictions for who fills out the 2016 recruiting class. We are going to operate under the assumption that Penn State takes 23 commits in this class, but we recognize the possibility that that number is a fluid one.
Final class of 2016 Predictions
|Tre Nixon (WR)||Tre Nixon (WR)|
|Kyzir White (S) (JuCo)||Damar Hamlin (CB)|
|Khaleke Hudson (ATH)||Khaleke Hudson (ATH)|
|Brendan Ferns (ILB)||Brendan Ferns (ILB)|
Things are pretty cut and dry for Penn State at this point. Some currently unknown target will surely emerge right around National Signing Day, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Penn State add a guy like that, but these five players seem to be the safest picks (and if you saw our previous predictions, you know we need some safe ones). It's possible that a commitment from either White or Hamlin closes the door on the other, based on who else is already committed, but it's too early to tell if that is the case. Aaron Hansford and Jordan Fuller are very much still on the board as well, however. It will be interesting to see what the coaching staff does if they are at their supposed limit, and one of those top-tier guys wants in.
Wrapping up the Under Armour All-America Game
As you surely know, Penn State was well-represented at the Under Armour All-America game, sending RB Miles Sanders, WDE Shane Simmons, OL Michal Menet and DT Ellison Jordan down to Florida for the last big event for those guys as high schoolers. There was plenty to be excited about as a result of their performances. Mike Farrell of Rivals, was especially high on Sanders, Simmons and Menet, as all three were marquee names in his ever-so-humbly named, "Farrell Awards". Here's what he had to say about each of Penn State's four participants:
Miles Sanders (awarded the "Lightning in a Bottle" award): "This award goes to the most dynamic and exciting player during the week, the guy who gets everyone's attention when he has the ball. This year it wasn’t easy to find a guy because few players really dominated in space, but I really like the way Sanders exploded upfield each time he touched the ball. Most of the time he was avoiding a whole lot of bodies as his offensive line struggled but he was still able to get out of trouble more often than not and when he was able to find some room he was fast."
Shane Simmons (awarded the "Position Precision" award, and was a runner-up for the "Athletic Achievement" award): "This goes to the player who stood out despite playing a position he is not likely to play at the college level. While Simmons could still grow into a defensive end at the college level, I think he’s better suited to be a hybrid or even a pure outside linebacker. That being said, he’s effective as an outside pass rusher and was one of very few prospects who beat Gregory Little in live action so he has those skills with his hand on the ground. He’s a ‘tweener who is getting stronger and I think he could play many roles."
Michal Menet (runner-up for the "Silent Assassin" award, for the player who doesn't get a ton of attention): "The offensive line often doesn’t get a ton of credit either and Reading (Pa.) Exeter Township Senior OT Michal Menet was up and down a bit but was key to his team’s interior line."
Ellison Jordan (runner-up for "Bear Market" award, for the player who's stock dropped the most): "Baltimore (Md.) Gilman DT Ellison Jordan didn’t look like a four star out there."
Overall, high praise for the four top commits in the class. It should also be noted that Jordan's stock "dropped" during some double-team drills, which he never was and probably never will be suited to overcome, which is okay, because that's not his role. Fret not, Penn State fans.
Others took to Twitter to praise Penn State's committed recruits, as well.
#PennState commit Miles Sanders is the best running back prospect in the country in my eyes and I'm not sure it's that close.— Ryan Donnelly (@RDonnellyBG) January 2, 2016
Penn State DE commit Shane Simmons has had a great week. Quick twitch, strong, relentless.— SB Nation Recruiting (@SBNRecruiting) January 2, 2016
Bud told me that he was very impressed with Penn State's commits all week, particularly Simmons.
McPhearson Dominates Semper Fi All-America Bowl
Zechariah McPhearson was out representing Penn State in the Semper-Fi All-America Bowl, and nearly pulled off an Auburn-special, returning a missed field goal 104 yards the other direction and just missing a touchdown on the play. Enjoy the beautiful return, below.
MaxPreps 2015 Sophomore High School All-Americans
Yup, we're going to talk more about the 2018 class. MaxPreps named their All-Americans for the 2018 recruiting class, and the teams included some very familiar names for Penn State.
TE Zack Kuntz (Camp Hill, PA)
RB Ricky Slade (Hylton, VA)
DL Taron Vincent (Gilman, MD)
DL Micah Parsons (Central Dauphin, PA)
LB Terajda Mitchell (Bayside, VA)
QB Phil Jurkovec (Pine Richland, PA)
DL P.J. Mustipher (McDonogh, MD)
All of the listed players hold offers from Penn State. The 2018 class might be even more fun than the 2017 class!
Parting Words from Miles Sanders
Penn State will be on top soon✋— Ⓜ️iles Sanders (@BoobieMiles_4) January 3, 2016