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National Signing Day 2018: Penn State Recruiting Class Superlatives

Taking a closer look at the newest additions to the Penn Sate football team.

National Signing Day Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times/MCT via Getty Images

Best Overall: DE/LB Micah Parsons

There’s absolutely an argument to be made for Justin Shorter here, too, but we’re going with Micah Parsons. The Pennsylvania five-star will start his career at linebacker, but should eventually move to defensive end, where he’ll be an absolute nightmare for opposing offensive tackles. Outside of his athleticism, what makes Parsons so special is his obsession with being the absolute best. He’s as competitive a person as they come, and plays with an edge unmatched around the country.

Highest Upside: OT Rasheed Walker

This was a close one between Nana Asiedu, Jayson Oweh, and Rasheed Walker, but we decided on the latter. At 6-foot-6, 300 pounds, Walker has prototypical size and length for an offensive tackle, is a tremendous athlete for the position, and is already rather technically sound. He’ll be able to redshirt next season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he pushes for playing time after that. He has the makings of being a game-changing bookend in Happy Valley.

Instant Impact: WR Justin Shorter

Since we gave Micah Parsons “Best Overall,” we’ll give Justin Shorter “Instant Impact.” While the Nittany Lions have some good options coming back at wide receiver, expect Shorter to break into the rotation immediately, and even push for a starting spot. It’s high expectations for the incoming frosh, but Shorter has the chance to lead Penn State in receptions in 2018 — he’s that special.

Most Underrated: LB Charlie Katshir

To be honest, most of Penn State’s commits have justifiable rankings so there’s no one that really sticks out, but Charlie Katshir is an intriguing choice. He’ll be making the switch from safety to linebacker, and has the size, athleticism, and smarts to be a real player at outside linebacker. It wouldn’t be a total surprise if Katshir ended up being the most productive linebacker Penn State signed.

Most Likely To Be Named A Captain: LB Jesse Luketa

In every recruiting class, there’s one prospect who takes the reins as the leader — for the 2018 class, Jesse Luketa was that guy. After committing to the Nittany Lions in February, Luketa acted as an additional assistant coach on the recruiting trail, playing a big part in building the bond between the 2018 class. Those leadership qualities will follow Luketa to Happy Valley, who has the makings of a future captain for the program.

Biggest Recruiting Win: DE Jayson Oweh and OT Rasheed Walker

Heading into December, Penn State and Ohio State were locked in on one-on-one battles for DL Tyreke Smith, DE Jayson Oweh, and OT Rasheed Walker. While Smith decided to stay home and rep the Buckeyes, the Nittany Lions won the other two battles, landing the signatures of Oweh and Walker.

Sure, Ohio State still has a ridiculous class, and a class that is still ranked ahead of Penn State’s. But make no mistake about, James Franklin going 2-for-3 against Urban Meyer down the stretch won’t go unnoticed in Columbus. If the Buckeyes didn’t get the message the last two years on the field, maybe they’ll get it on the recruiting trail — the Nittany Lions are coming.

Biggest Recruiting Loss: QB Justin Fields

Most Surprising Recruiting Win: DE/LB Micah Parsons

If you would have told me back in July that Micah Parsons would end up back in Penn State’s class, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s not very often that a recruit decommits from a program only to end up recommitting to the same school. But hey, sometimes the windiest roads still lead you home.

Most Surprising Recruiting Loss: DL Tyreke Smith

It goes to show you the success Penn State had on the recruiting trail this year when a four-star defensive end from Ohio spurning the Nittany Lions for the in-state Buckeyes was the most surprising recruiting loss, but here we are, folks.

After (allegedly) having Penn State as his leader for most of the fall, Tyreke Smith headed to Happy Valley for his official visit weekend on December 8. While Smith wasn’t a “lock” for the Nittany Lions, it seemed like a strong weekend could essentially seal it for James Franklin and Co. But — as Penn State fans unfortunately know — Smith ended up reversing course, and signed his Letter of Intent for the Buckeyes on December 20.