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Blessed & Honored: Julian Fleming Stands Out, Truss Off To Georgia, And More

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I’m not saying I’ll cry if Julian Fleming doesn’t come to Penn State, but I’m also not saying I won’t not cry if Julian Fleming doesn’t come to Penn State.

Picture via Julian Fleming on Twitter

TRUSS IS A BULLDOG

Arguably Penn State’s top offensive tackle target is off the board as four-star Rhode Island big man Xavier Truss committed to Georgia Sunday evening.

Truss just made another round of Southern visits, seeing Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia from the 14th through the 16th so the decision to commit to the Bulldogs didn’t come from way out of left field. But with the Nittany Lions sitting in a strong position — they owned all 16 Crystal Ball predictions on 247Sports — it certainly is a surprise for James Franklin and Co.

I’ve highlighted this in the past, but I never thought Truss was the lock to Penn State that his Crystal Ball might have indicated. When I talked to him in April, it was clear that the Nittany Lions had the best relationship with him, but he also seemed highly interested in Southern schools. Personally, I thought Auburn was going to be the main competition, but Georgia swooping in comes as no surprise given Kirby Smart’s ability on the recruiting trail.

As for where Penn State goes from here, I think the number on the offensive line might be back down to three now. That’s where I thought it was when the 2019 recruiting year started, but pushed it to four in the spring when Caedan Wallace, Jakai Moore, Saleem Wormley, and Truss all seemed to be trending toward Penn State. With Truss now off the board, it might make more sense to just take three, especially since the Nittany Lions are slated to return 14 scholarship linemen without accounting for anyone in the 2019 class.

I think the need for Virginia three-star Moore greatly increases, but he was very much wanted even before Truss’ Georgia pledge. He’s not going to be an easy pull though; South Carolina has really dug in here, and Clemson (who just offered in May) is emerging too.

I think any questions about Saleem Wormley’s green light to commit are answered. He’s fresh off a Notre Dame official, so we’ll see the backlash for that in the coming days. The Irish do already have four offensive linemen committed, something that I think could come into play.

There’s also Lackawanna C.C.’s Anthony Whigan, who would essentially take Robert Martin’s scholarship along the offensive line. He’s taken official visits to South Carolina and Louisville, but Penn State seems to have the inside track should they push.

OKAY, GATTIS

Four-star wideout John Metchie is fresh off his Alabama official visit, and it appears that Metchie is now trending to the Crimson Tide, who have picked up a number of Crystal Ball predictions in the last 48 hours.

I’m a little surprised Metchie is a take at Alabama. He’s a good prospect for sure, but I would have assumed the Crimson Tide would have bigger targets down South. But when you consider that Josh Gattis is now in Tuscaloosa, it makes sense that he’d have more interest in Metchie than maybe the previous Alabama receiver coach would have had.

It’d be a tough loss, but Gattis is such a good recruiter that Penn State was bound to lose one of the Northern kids he developed a strong relationship with. Let’s just hope he doesn’t have as much luck next year with Julian Fleming.

7-ON-7 & LIONSTRONG CAMP

56 7-on-7 teams from high schools in the region flocked to Happy Valley on Saturday for Penn State’s Lion Strong 7-on-7 tournament and Big Man Challenge. Among the visitors on campus as part of the camp festivities over the weekend were five-star class of 2020 wide receiver Julian Fleming and class of 2021 offensive lineman Landon Tengwall.

247Sports has Fleming ranked as the No. 2 player in the country for the 2020 recruiting cycle. Combine this with Fleming being born and raised in the heart of Nittany Lion Country in Catawissa, PA, and it’s not a stretch to call Fleming the staff’s top target for 2020.

Fleming showed why he is arguably the top high school football player in the country by putting on a show Saturday afternoon. His first catch of the day went for a long touchdown, and he also torched a loaded DeMatha Catholic (MD) team - that featured a pair of four-star defensive back recruits in Nick Cross and Alabama commit DeMarco Hellams - scoring three touchdowns against the Stags, according to Mark Brennan who was in attendance.

You can read more here from Brennan on a myriad of other players who stood out from the weekend.

As for Tengwall, this was the second consecutive year he was named the Big Man Challenge MVP at Penn State. Tengwall already has offers from Georgia, Miami, Michigan, and Ohio State, among others. This is a recruitment that the Nittany Lions should be major players in until the end, with Penn State already owning four Crystal Ball predictions for the 2021 standout.

Following strong performances on Saturday a pair of DeMatha players earned offers from James Franklin and company. These two players are class of 2020 defensive end Coziah Izzard and class of 2021 defensive end Colin Mobley.

DeMatha Catholic is a national powerhouse and produced current Nittany Lions Mark Allen and Shane Simmons. The more connections the Penn State staff makes with DeMatha, the better.

NEW OFFERS FROM FIU CAMP

On Thursday, James Franklin and his assistant coaches flocked to Miami, FL, for Florida International’s camp. At this camp the staff was able to watch some of the best talent in the state of Florida perform, and three players earned Penn State offers at camp.

Class of 2020 linebacker Derek Wingo, class of 2020 cornerback Henry Gray (Miami commit), and class of 2021 tight end Gage Wilcox were the players offered.

Pairing up with non-power five conference schools for camps like this is a great way for Coach Franklin and his staff to continue to make connections with high school programs and coaches from outside the region.

VLAD’S BOMB AT BIG 33

Future Penn Staters Charlie Katshir, Jahan Dotson, Brandon Clark, Collin De Boef, Will Knutsson, and Vlad Hilling all wrapped up their prep careers over the weekend, suiting up for Pennsylvania (and Maryland in Knutsson’s case) in this year’s Big 33 Football Classic. Hilling, a walk-on kicker from Hollidaysburg, had probably the best showing, booting a 56-yard field goal that was good by a few yards.

And when I say a “few yards” I mean that thing was good from 65-yards-plus. SHEESH. While Penn State will also be bringing in a scholarship kicker, Jake Pinegar, to compete for the kicking job this summer, it looks like Hilling will legitimately vie for the spot too.