As things currently stand, Penn State’s 2019 class is ranked No. 11 in the country, and has a stellar 82% Blue Chip Ratio, which after Alabama, is the best BCR in the country. The Nittany Lions will be hoping to add more talent to their 2019 class, though, so let’s take a look at who James Franklin and Co. will be targeting down the stretch.
12. Five-Star OT Darnell Wright
Penn State has recently made a move for the five-star from West Virginia, hosting him for his first visit to Happy Valley for the Whiteout game on September 29. While Alabama and Tennessee still have the lead here, the Nittany Lions could be considered the darkhorse. Getting Wright back on campus for an official is a must, though, if Penn State hopes to pull off the late upset.
11. Four-Star RB Noah Cain
Although Cain hasn’t been to Penn State since April 28, his parents made a visit to Happy Valley for the Lasch Bash at the end of July, and apparently Franklin hit the visit out of the park with the parents. Unfortunately, Cain — who is originally from Louisiana — seems to favor the Tigers right now. While Cain should be back in State College for an official visit at some point, LSU will be tough to beat.
10. Three-Star DT Ben Smiley
The Nittany Lions offered Smiley in May, and have hosted him twice since then: once for the Lasch Bash, and then most recently for the Ohio State game. It will depend on how many defensive tackles Penn State wants to take in the class, but Smiley would be a fits the mold of what defensive line coach Sean Spencer likes — elite length, athletic, and a ton of room to add weight.
9. Four-Star OT Trevor Keegan
The Nittany Lions remain in the picture for the top-ranked Illinois prospect, as Keegan will be back in Happy Valley for an official visit for the Iowa game. But at this point, Penn State looks like a long shot with Michigan still having heavy control of his 247Sports Crystal Ball.
8. Three-Star RB Aaron Young
Throwing it back to 2012 in some ways, but Penn State is battling Rutgers here. Yes, Rutgers. Young’s brother is a freshman at Rutgers, so the pull is obvious there, but the Nittany Lions do appear to be chipping away. Young was most recently in Happy Valley for the Whiteout game, and an official visit back to State College seems likely.
7. Four-Star DB Noa Pola-Gates
Alabama continues to be the favorite for Pola-Gates, but Penn State hoped to have turned the tide (get it? do you get it??) during Pola-Gates’ official visit for the Whiteout. It should be important to note that Pola-Gates uncle, Al Polamalu, played for Penn State in the 80s.
6. Four-Star DB Lewis Cine
Welp, Cine would have been much higher on this list in March, but ever since his move to Texas, the one-time Penn State lean has been trending away from the Nittany Lions. Cine is set to decide on Wednesday, and while James Franklin and Co. have stayed in the thick of things here, it appears that Georgia will be the call for Cine.
5. Three-Star OT Jakai Moore
Penn State’s top offensive tackle on the board, Moore was back on campus for the Whiteout, and should be back for an official visit at some point too. South Carolina continues to look like the prime competition for Moore, but Ohio State and Virginia Tech remain in the picture too.
4. Four-Star WR David Bell
Bell just wrapped up his official visit to Penn State, and will now head to Purdue, Ohio State, Indiana, and Iowa before making a decision at the Army All-American Game on January 5. The Nittany Lions are in a good spot here, but James Franklin and wide receivers coach David Corley will have to go all-out for Bell over the next couple months if they want to land his pledge come January.
3. Three-Star DT Jared Harrison-Hunte
Harrison-Hunte has been to Penn State a number of times, visiting six times in the last seven months. While he’s far from a lock, it’s probably safe to say the potential-filled 6-foot-4, 286-pound interior defender is a Penn State lean.
2. Four-Star DE Adisa Isaac
Similar to his fellow New York City product, Isaac has been to Penn State a number of times and could be considered a Penn State lean. As I said in last week’s B&H, every time the Nittany Lions get a commitment, I assume it’s Isaac. Eventually, I will be correct.
1. Five-Star DE Zach Harrison
Penn State, Michigan, and Ohio State continue to press for the five-star defensive end, but right now, he seems set on taking his time. Harrison was most recently in Happy Valley for the Whiteout game, and will probably take in a game at Ohio State and Michigan at some point in the next few weeks.
This one truly could go any of three ways, but if you want to feel good about the Nittany Lions’ chances, it seems like Harrison already has a close relationship with some of Penn State’s 2019 recruiting class. As James Franklin always says, “It’s about relationships.”