clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Recruiting Q&A: Size of Penn State’s 2019 Class?

Guess who is now 2-for-4 in actually finishing their recruiting Q&A’s!!

NCAA Football: Michigan at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

You asked, I answered. Let’s go!

How many recruits do you think end up in the 2019 class?

I wrote my original response to this before Ryan Buchholz and Jordan Miner both retired, which made it all for naught. That’s what I get for trying to get things done ahead of time, rather than just waiting until the last second.

With Buchholz and Miner taking medical scholarships (which don’t count toward the 85-limit), Penn State is now down to *86 total scholarship players on the roster for 2019. In a general offseason, a team usually sees an attrition — whether it be NFL draft, transfer, medical, etc. — of about eight players, so of course, that gets factored into the numbers for the next class.

So with 15 commits right now, I think 22 is a good base point for the class, with the possibility that it hits 24 or even 25 if things fall a certain way, both on the recruiting trail and within the team. I just think the potential (key word) is there for a lot of movement on the roster, especially with regards to the NFL draft. We’ll obviously know more once the season hits, but there will be a lot of names who could have decisions to make — Shareef Miller, Juwan Johnson, John Reid, Ryan Bates, and even Connor McGovern and Miles Sanders with big years could play themselves into the legitimate conversation.

Sure, none of those guys are bonafide first rounders like Saquon Barkley was, but outside of Sanders, it will be a bunch of guys who have played a lot of football here and might just want to get paid for it. I think, conservatively, Penn State can expect three of them to go, with one or two others a possibility as well.

*CJ Holmes is included in the 86 because I believe he will be put on scholarship for the rest of his career following this season.

Harrison, yes or no? This is a biggy.

Harrison is a tough kid to get a read on. He clearly doesn’t idolize the Buckeyes the way other Ohio kids do, and there seems to be enough smoke for both Penn State and Michigan to feel good about where they stand with Harrison. Toss in the Urban Meyer saga at Ohio State, and I really wouldn’t be surprised if this goes any which way.

As for your question: I still lean “no.” Not because I don’t think Penn State could land him, I just still think the Buckeyes are the favorite until we see otherwise. I will say — and granted I don’t know Ohio State’s and Michigan’s classes as well — but I think Harrison would fit in tremendously well personality-wise with the 2019 class. Harrison said as much in his feature with Bleacher Report. Guys like Brandon Smith, Devyn Ford, and Caedan Wallace all seem to carry themselves the same way Harrison does, which should be a big positive for Penn State.

Is caring (about recruiting) creepy?

I don’t think caring about recruiting is creepy at all. Sure, there has to be a balance of not having a 17-year-old ruin your day because he didn’t choose your program, but recruiting is the most important aspect of a college football program. In fact, I don’t really understand how people can follow Penn State football “closely” but not follow recruiting. It’s the lifeblood to the program.

Perhaps I’m just wired differently, though. I’ve always loved the “team building” aspect of sports — from the NBA and NFL draft, to MLB minor league prospect rankings, to watching the United States’ U-20 World Cup team. Seeing what’s on the horizon has always fascinated me, and it’s the same for recruiting, but probably on an even bigger scale because of the amount of turnover college teams see now-a-days.

If/when Cine commits elsewhere, who is 1b at safety?

Realize this question was asked prior to the Buchholz and Miner news, but with the extra space and having lost a defensive back, I imagine taking another secondary prospect is now a definite. Cam’Ron Kelly and Joey Porter Jr. are your obvious targets, but I think even someone like RB Aaron Young could slide back there if need be. He plays cornerback for his high school team, and while I don’t think he has the long speed to be a corner, he’s a solidly built kid who plays with good instincts. I think he could flourish on the backend of a defense.

Plus, don’t forget about two national products: Arizona’s Noa Pola-Gates and Florida’s John Dixon. Pola-Gates was a Junior Day visitor and is scheduled to be back in Happy Valley for the Ohio State game as an official visitor. Meanwhile, Dixon unofficially visited back in June, and has the Nittany Lions in his top five along with Ohio State, Alabama, South Carolina, and Miami. The 6-foot, 170-pound Florida cornerback hails from Tampa, an area that has been good to Penn State, producing Amani Oruwariye, Judge Culpepper, and the aforementioned Miner.

Need the scoop on any Urbz fallout with croots.

If Urban Meyer is retained by Ohio State, which I think is the likelier of the outcomes, I would expect a minimal impact on the recruiting trail, especially for their current commits. If they didn’t decommit in the last few weeks, I just can’t foresee the scenario where they decide to move on from the Buckeyes if Meyer is brought back.

As for uncommitted prospects, again, I wouldn’t expect much of a fallout. Maybe for a couple prospects it could mean something — like a Zach Harrison, since all three schools are so close — but Meyer is one of the best recruiters all-time for a reason. I imagine he’ll be able to smooth things over with the majority of 2019 and 2020 prospects rather quickly.

If he’s fired: well, that’s a different story. While there actually wasn’t a lot of crossover (at least so far) between Penn State and Ohio State on the recruiting trail this year, I think you would see the Nittany Lions re-enter the fray for previous targets like RB Sampson James and DB Ronnie Hickman. And obviously, the effects would still be felt in 2020, as it would be much easier for James Franklin to recruit against literally anybody else. As I said above, Meyer really is one of the all-time greats when it comes to stockpiling talent, so no matter who Ohio State would bring in, he would be a step down from Meyer on the recruiting trail.

Who is the first 2020 verbal?

The usual obvious choices — a quarterback or someone from Pennsylvania — don’t seem to fit here for 2020. The Nittany Lions are taking their time in scouting QBs for the next cycle, while PA’s talent isn’t looking too hot at this point. Penn State has only offered WR Julian Fleming and OT Michael Carmody, neither of which appear to be close to a decision.

DeMatha five-star RB MarShawn Lloyd has six Penn State 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions to his name so he’s in the mix whenever he visits. New Jersey DB Jordan Morant is another prospect that clearly is high on the Nittany Lions, having visited Penn State three times this offseason.

I still think a quarterback could end up No. 1 just because of how quickly kids move on offers. Who that would end up being, I have no idea. Like seriously, none. But a personal favorite of mine is Mitch Griffis who is currently committed to Wake Forest. He’s an undersized white kid with better-than-you-think athleticism from Ashburn, VA. Definitely no one to compare him to. Nope, no sir.

Quesadillas are the perfect food. Convince me otherwise.

I really don’t have too much of an argument against this, but I will stay in the same family and say that I’ll take a burrito over a quesadilla. It offers the same versatility that a quesadilla does, but the volume (thicc) of a burrito is generally greater than a quesadilla. Give me that volume, boys and girls.

Keep in mind, though, I am also the same person who ate popcorn chicken, pierogies, or Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast sandwiches (which might be cardboard) everyday for my meals my senior year of college. So I might not be the person to go to when it comes to having “good” opinions on food.