The Nittany Lions received a big boost when they earned Jayson Oweh’s commitment, but Penn State is far from over for the 2018 recruiting cycle. Let’s take a look at an updated big board for some new names that might pop up over the final month, and for an update on where the Nittany Lions stand with their longtime targets.
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6. DE Javontae Jean-Baptiste (Bergen Catholic, NJ)
Other Contenders: Virginia Tech, Nebraska, and Boston College
A new name to the board, Jean-Baptiste doesn’t have a Penn State offer yet, but he’s a name to keep an eye on. At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, he’s a long, lanky defensive end prospect that resembles signee Jayson Oweh. It remains to be seen if the Nittany Lions want to take another longterm project at defensive end, but if a couple players in front of him head elsewhere, Jean-Baptiste could be a great back-up option.
5. DB DJ Brown (St. John’s, D.C.)
Other Contenders: Virginia (committed), Clemson, Cal, South Carolina, and Duke
DJ Brown is currently committed to Virginia, but didn’t sign with the Cavaliers in December. The D.C. native had a strong senior season, and picked up offers from Clemson, South Carolina, and Nebraska following an impressive week down at the Under Armour All-America game.
There’s yet to be any reported Penn State contact, but James Franklin followed Brown on twitter recently, so could be something to keep an eye on. Brown’s a big defensive back at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, and fits the mold of a cornerback that could grow into a safety that the Nittany Lions like to recruit for.
4. DB Noah Boykin (Woodson HD, D.C.)
Other Contenders: Maryland (committed), Notre Dame, USC, and Virginia
Perhaps the most realistic (I use that term lightly) of the new names, Noah Boykin decided against signing early with the Terrapins, and now has one more official visit to take. Penn State has been in contact with Boykin, but until the Nittany Lions offer, it’s tough to see a scenario where Boykin makes the trek to Happy Valley. If they do, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Penn State would become a prime contender to earn his signature come National Signing Day.
3. WR Solomon Enis (Phoenix, AZ)
Other Contenders: Good question!
Honestly, Enis’ recruitment is a weird one, because outside of Penn State, I’m not exactly sure who the other legitimate contenders are. We know he liked Arizona State, but with Herm Edwards now at the helm, things have changed drastically in Tempe. Enis also liked USC quite a bit, but I’m not sure the Trojans’ pursuit of Enis has ever been that strong. Scott Frost and Nebraksa recently offered the Arizona product, so perhaps the Cornhuskers enter the picture?
I could just be overanalyzing the situation, but it seems off. Enis appears to be all Penn State, but yet, didn’t sign in December when it was expected that the Nittany Lions would have accepted a commitment. Pointing out the obvious, but we’ll learn more over the coming days.
2. DL Tyler Friday (Don Bosco Prep, NJ)
Other Contenders: Ohio State, Michigan, and Alabama
With Penn State signing Jayson Oweh, Tyler Friday now becomes the biggest priority on the defensive side of the ball. At 6-foot-3, 263 pounds, Friday offers the positional versatility to play defensive end or defensive tackle, but the Nittany Lions would probably have him at tackle. He’s already made visits to Ohio State, Michigan, and Alabama, and it’s a possibility that he’ll make his way to Happy Valley for an official in January. If he does make that visit, Friday’s recruitment will most likely come down to the Big Ten heavyweights and Michigan.
1. OT Rasheed Walker (Waldorf, MD)
Other Contenders: Ohio State and Virginia Tech
No surprise here, as Walker has been Penn State’s most coveted offensive recruit for almost a year now. The Top 100 offensive tackle is down to Penn State, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech, but it would be a major upset if he ended up anywhere but State College or Columbus. Walker will officially visit Ohio State sometime in January, which could be pivotal in swinging momentum back to the Buckeyes. While Walker already used his official visit to Penn State, he mentioned the possibility of taking additional unofficial visits, so it wouldn’t be unforeseen if Walker pops back up on campus.
Despite Penn State’s substantial lead on the 247 Crystal Ball, this recruitment is much closer than 94%-6%. But even with Ohio State getting the last official visit, I think the Nittany Lions are going to be rather difficult to beat here. There’s so much in Penn State’s favor — relationship with coaches, familiarity with players/recruits, location, etc. — that it could be too much for Ohio State to overcome. Of course Urban Meyer and Co. will throw the kitchen sink at Walker when he does visit, so I expect this to be a bumpy ride to National Signing Day, but I think Walker’s relationship with James Franklin, Matt Limegrover, and Tyler Bowen (who was recruiting him at UMD) prevails in the end.
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Massive 2019 OT Lands Offer
Following a strong performance at the US Army National Combine, Rhode Island’s Xavier Truss picked up an offer from Penn State.
Beyond Grateful for an offer from Penn State! Go Nittany Lions! pic.twitter.com/RgcZpQsrAj— Xavier Truss 77 (@xtruss94) January 6, 2018
At 6-foot-7, 325 pounds, Truss is a mountain of a man already. He doesn’t play the greatest competition in Rhode Island, but his film is what you would expect out of a player with his size.
Since the offer, six predictions for Penn State have come in for Truss. Most notably, two of them were from Sean Fitz and Steve Wiltfong, so this might be a good kid to keep an eye on down the line.
Early Enrollees Enrolled
Penn State’s six early enrollees from the 2018 class — Zack Kuntz, Nick Tarburton, Jesse Luketa, Trent Gordon, Isaiah Humphries, and Micah Parsons — have all arrived in State College. With classes for the spring semester starting today, I hope they are all having fun in English 15.