The BSD recruiting gang gathered around on Slack to discuss which offensive and defensive player excited us most from Penn State’s 2020 recruiting class.
Offense: Caziah Holmes
Holmes is a play maker. There are few players in the country with the mix of straight away speed, quickness, agility, and ability to break tackles that Holmes possesses. He can impact the game as a running back, slot receiver, as a return man, and, hell, he can even throw the ball. Look for Holmes to play as a true freshman in the fall, and for him to quickly become a thorn in the side of Big Ten defenses. A reminder that Penn State needs to give JaJuan Seider a lifetime contract and a blank check.
Defense: Zuriah Fisher
Okay, so, as Clay, Dylan, and Patrick can attest to I have been driving the Zuriah Fisher bandwagon for months. In the spring when he was starting to pop up on campus with regularity, despite being a low 3-star recruit, I said Fisher was a future star at the collegiate level. Fast forward seven months, and Fisher is now a 4-star recruit and one of the Nittany Lions highest rated defensive commits. Fisher has the length of a defensive end, and the sideline to sideline athleticism of a linebacker. For the Nittany Lions he could play either position. Regardless of what position he ends up at, Fisher will be a star for Brent Pry’s defense. It also would not surprise me if he started to make an impact sooner rather than later.
Offense: One of KeAndre Lambert or Jaden Dottin
There’s no hiding the fact that wide receiver has been a bit of a wasteland the last couple seasons. Between drops and departures in 2018, and really only being the KJ Hamler Show in 2019, the offense needs another receiver (or two) to start making a difference. Both Lambert and Dottin possess the size to push for playing time at WR-X, and with the departure of Justin Shorter, one of them could take the reins themselves.
Defense: One of Cole Brevard or Coziah Izzard
I almost went with Enzo Jennings here, as the secondary is going to need some help in 2020. But to me the secondary play improves if the defensive line is good, and after the Iowa game, the defensive tackles just sort of disappeared. If either of Brevard or Izzard can push some of the veterans ahead of them, it will help bolster an underperforming group in 2019, with the hope that the DL can return to dominance, thus making the entire defense better.
Offense: Theo Johnson
Penn State has been loaded at the tight end position for the better part of the past decade, and that won’t be changing any time soon. Johnson may have to sit and wait a year, but his potential seems well worth the wait. With the addition of Johnson, the Nittany Lions are getting a four-star, 6-6, 250 lb. future star with offers from Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, and Georgia, among others. It only seems like a matter of time before Johnson is following in the footsteps of Mike Gesicki and Pat Freiermuth to create match-up nightmares throughout the Big Ten.
Defense: Cole Brevard
Brevard comes to Happy Valley with a Big Ten body, already tipping the scales at over 300 pounds. He’s not planning to just eat up space, either. The Indiana-native has outstanding quickness and tenacity, regularly disrupting plays in the backfield before they can ever get started. He has a shot at joining the rotation in 2020, and has the ability to be a special defensive tackle who also regularly makes plays during his time at Penn State.
Offense: Parker Washington
Sometimes you can’t explain why a wide receiver is elite. Jerry Rice ran a 4.6. Marvin Harrison was a middle of the road NFL athlete at wideout. Antonio Brown lacked elite size and ran in the high 4.4s. But the best wideouts just go get open and make plays. That’s what Washington has done throughout his high school career against elite competition in Texas, and I expect he’ll do the same during his Penn State career.
Defense: Curtis Jacobs
I wanted to get creative here, but Jacobs is the easy answer. He gets to the ball quickly, he’s a good tackler, and for a linebacker he has elite ball skills when the ball is in the air. Penn State hasn’t had a linebacker who covers as well as Jacobs since Sean Lee.
Offense: Golden Israel-Achumba
I really like what Penn State was able to do along the offensive front in this class, and in my opinion, leading that group is Israel-Achumba. The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Achumba is an interior guy all the way, but that’s okay because the dude is absolute mauler. Like most high school offensive linemen, he relies a little too much on his upper body strength rather than technique, but those things will come with time. For me, what sticks out about Israel-Achumba is just how well he carries 320. I mean, I’m sure he’ll need to drop a bit of bad weight when he enrolls, but overall, he doesn’t seem like a sloppy 320. He’s rather put together, and when a 17 year old kid can look that nimble and coordinated at 320, it usually points to great things.
Defense: Tyler Elsdon
Elsdon might not offer the positional versatility that Derek Wingo did, but Elsdon is and will be a better linebacker than Wingo. Mark. My. Words.