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Blessed & Honored: Previewing Upcoming Decisions

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Get ready to hear about how James Franklin is a used car salesman, and how none of these prospects were takes for Ohio State anyway.

NCAA Football: Kent State at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Folks, we have a busy couple days ahead, don’t we? Five 4-or-5-star prospects will be deciding in the next week (or so), and with Penn State in the lead for four of them, it’s looking likely that the Nittany Lions will be getting a lot better shortly.


DL ANTONIO ALFANO

Deciding: May 18
Finalists: Alabama, Georgia, and Penn State
Crystal Ball Leader: Alabama (88%)

Now enrolled at his third high school within the last year, Alfano’s had a bit of a whacky recruitment. He was originally going to commit in December, but would wind up holding off on those plans in order to take some spring visits. He did just that, visiting his top three during the first two weeks of April, and actually made a second visit to State College on April 21 for the Blue-White game. Alas, for whatever reason, it doesn’t seem like the Nittany Lions are the choice here. Credit to Alabama and former Penn State assistant Josh Gattis, who look poised to take the No. 1 recruit in New Jersey.


RB DEVYN FORD

Deciding: May 18
Finalists: Virginia Tech and Penn State
Crystal Ball Leader: Penn State (68%)

For the last year, Ford has been a Hokie lean, and that was still the case heading into his Penn State official visit. It was widely seen that the Nittany Lions would need to hit a home run on Ford’s visit to have any chance at the four-star Virginia prospect. And you know what? It looks like James Franklin and Co. did just that, as Ford has been trending Penn State’s way since the last week of April.

Expect the Hokies to pull out every last stop until Friday to keep Ford home, but it’s looking more and more likely that Ford will make the call for the Nittany Lions. If that does happen, it would mark the second consecutive year that Penn State pulls a Top 100 running back from Virginia, as Ford would join fellow Virginia native Ricky Slade in Happy Valley.


LB BRANDON SMITH

Deciding: May 21
Finalists: Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, and Penn State
Crystal Ball Leader: Penn State (93%)

Penn State has been the longtime leader for Smith, and that didn’t seem to change after spring visits to all of his final schools. While Ohio State and Michigan might have been able to make this one close if it dragged out into the summer and fall, the fact that Smith is deciding this early leads pretty much everyone to think he’s going with the Nittany Lions. From Smith’s perspective, it makes a ton of sense since he’ll be joining a Penn State linebacker corps that is still being rebuilt, meaning the depth chart is wide open.


DB TYLER RUDOLPH

Deciding: May 21
Finalists: Clemson, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State
Crystal Ball Leader: Penn State (100%)

Another player that has had Penn State at the top for a while now, Rudolph will also be deciding on the 21st. Clemson and Michigan were in this one closer than most believe, but like Smith, the fact that Rudolph is deciding this early (he had planned on taking other official visits this summer), has all the tea leaves pointing towards the Nittany Lions.

It’s important to also note that Rudolph’s pledge could play a part in fellow Connecticut defensive back Marquis Wilson’s commitment. The two aren’t a package deal, but they are close friends, and if they were going to end up anywhere together, Penn State seemed like the most likely option. If Rudolph does indeed make the call for the Nittany Lions, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wilson follow suit sooner rather than later.


DB CAM’RON KELLY

Deciding: TBA
Finalists: Clemson, Oklahoma, Washington State, and Penn State
Crystal Ball Leader: Penn State (100%)

Last but not least, we have Virginia defensive back Cam’Ron Kelly. Kelly officially visited Penn State during Blue-White weekend, where the Nittany Lions apparently crushed it because crystal balls came pouring in for Penn State. Shortly thereafter, Kelly honeydicked everyone into thinking he was announcing — and had one stupid idiot blogger sitting at his computer for an hour waiting to publish an “Oh, Hello” post — but instead, it was just a top eight.

Anyway, Kelly announced last night on Twitter that he’ll be announcing later today when he’ll announce his commitment date — got it? Regardless if you do or don’t, the Nittany Lions are in a good spot here, and the timing of his decision isn’t a coincidence in my opinion.