We previewed the offensive side of the ball last Wednesday. Today, we take a look at the defensive front in 2020.
DEFENSIVE END — 3
Defensive end is one of those “prime” positions where it makes sense to over-recruit a little bit. I always liken it to a combo forward in basketball — you know, the 6-foot-8 guy who can stretch the floor offensively but switch defensively? Yeah, you can never have too many of those. Same idea in football — you can never have too many defensive ends. So with that being the case, I think at least three is a good starting base in 2020.
New Jersey’s Fadil Diggs and Aaron Lewis are both high on the board. Diggs was last in town for the Whiteout game in September, while Lewis took in the Junior Day on February 2. Lewis specifically will be interesting to watch. Penn State was his third Power Five offer back in October, and since then, he’s really added to that — Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Tennessee, and West Virginia all joined the fray. We’ll see if the Nittany Lions getting in early give them a leg up.
Demon Clowney (Maryland — and yes, cousin of Jadeveon) plays at powerhouse St. Frances, and took in the Whiteout game so Penn State is in the picture there. Elijah Roberts (Florida) has the Nittany Lions in his top three along with Florida State and Miami.
As for non-offers, Amin Vanover (New Jersey) plays at the same high school 2019 signee Smith Vilbert plays at. He’s landed offers from Ohio State and Clemson recently, so might be one Penn State eventually gets involved with. Canadian Kenny Mestidor camped at Penn State last summer, and could be in the picture as a defensive end.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE — 2
Doesn’t take the most clued in recruitnik to know who sits atop Penn State’s defensive tackle board: the No. 1 player in the country, Bryan Bresee (Maryland). I would never compare a high school junior to JJ Watt. That would be ridiculous — buuuuuuut if I did, it might be Bresee. Great size at 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, elite athlete that moves like a 240 pounder, possesses an incredible first step, and will be a terror on the inside or outside. I mean, he’s a program changing type prospect for Penn State.
Being the No. 1 prospect, it’s the normal figures involved here: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia, and Penn State. While it seemed like the latter two — Georgia and Penn State — were inching away from the others, Clemson has been surging recently, picking up some Crystal Balls following an unofficial visit there. Still, the familiarity Bresee has with Penn State (four visits in the last 10 months) can’t be questioned. Visits in the spring will go a long way here, but if you’re James Franklin and Penn State, you should be relatively pleased with where things stand for Bresee.
Beyond Bresee, there’s certainly some other talent out there. France’s Jeffrey M’ba made the switch from 2019 to 2020, and now plays at St. Thomas More in Connecticut. He has great size at 6-foot-5, 305 pounds, so provided he adjusts well to American competition, he’s someone I imagine Penn State will get involved. Plus, his teammate Lamar Goods is pretty good too.
Isaiah Raikes (New Jersey) and Coziah Izzard (Maryland) are two guys in the region with offers. Both were also up for the Junior Day on February 2. Cole Brevard (Indiana) has been to Penn State twice already, but Clemson will be tough to beat there. Dominic Bailey (Maryland) was someone Penn State appeared to be in a solid position for, but he just committed to Tennessee. We’ll see if it sticks.