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Blessed & Honored: 3/26/19

Another weekend, another group of visitors in Happy Valley.

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


As is the norm this time of year, it was a busy weekend in Happy Valley for the recruiting staff. Class of 2020 athlete Justin Barron, and class of 2021 athlete Sieh Bangura, wide receiver Jalil Farooq, and offensive lineman Ryan Lithicum were all in town.

Farooq is the only member of this group that currently holds an offer from the Nittany Lions, but this will change. Lithicum, who attends Damascus High School in Maryland, is shaping up to be one of the top offensive linemen in the region for 2021 and will pick up an offer at some point.

As we’ll get into below, there was also a trio of class of 2020 prospects that visited campus over the weekend and picked up offers during their visit, or shortly thereafter.


A pair of players — three-star 2020 offensive lineman Nicholas Dawkins and three-star 2020 linebacker Cullen Coleman — earned an offer after visiting campus this past weekend.

Dawkins hails from Allentown, making him just the third in-state prospect to pick up an offer in the 2020 recruiting cycle. The son of late NBA star Darryl ‘Chocolate Thunder’ Dawkins, Nicholas comes from a great athletic lineage. Dawkins told Brian Dohn of 247 Sports that that earning a Penn State offer was “a dream.” Moving forward, the Nittany Lions very well could be the team to beat in Dawkins recruitment.

Coleman is a player that has been on Penn State’s radar for some time now. In recent months, the New York native has also picked up offers from Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. The Nittany Lions already have two darn good linebackers in their 2020 class, but it would not be a surprise to see the staff identify Coleman as their top target for the third linebacker spot.

While not offered while on campus, three-star 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end Brandon Taylor received his offer on Monday.

The Nittany Lions joined Iowa State and Michigan State as Power 5 programs to offer the Ohio product. A pretty darn good basketball player too, Taylor is a player that appears ready to blow up some on the camp circuit this spring and summer.

Over the weekend, a pair of prospects that were not on campus also picked up offers — three-star defensive end Antwaun Powell and three-star running back Tee Hodge.

Powell attends I.C. Norcom in Portsmoth, Virginia. In recent cycles, the Nittany Lions have been tough to beat in Virginia. If Powell makes it to campus for a visit, Penn State should become contenders for the twitchy defensive end.

As for Hodge, he hails from Maryville, Tennessee. Much like Powell, the next step for the Nittany Lions in his recruitment is to get him campus. With Penn State’s 2020 class currently lacking a running back, Hodge could have interest in visiting campus.


On Monday, four-star cornerback commit Joshua Moten was back on campus. The Maryland native made the trip to Happy Valley to check out practice.

This was Moten’s first time back on campus since committing at Junior Day in February. It is always a positive to get commits back on campus as often as possible as they continue to cultivate their relationship with coaches and players. It’s an added bonus when commits are on campus with a slate of uncommitted visitors like the Nittany Lions had on Monday.

Among the visitors that joined Moten in Happy Valley on Monday was four-star offensive lineman Zak Zinter.

Zinter is from North Andover, Massachusetts, and one of the Nittany Lions top offensive line targets for the 2020 cycle. Zinter had previously visited campus for Penn State’s regular season finale against Maryland.

A trio of talented players from Virginia — 2020 cornerback Keontae Jenkins, the top cornerback in the country in the 2021 class Tony Grimes, and 2021’s second ranked defensive tackle Katron Evans — were also on campus Monday.

Jenkins could be a candidate for the 2020 class as the cornerback options appear a little light, while Grimes and Evans are trending to be elite prospects in 2021. All in all, good to get all three on campus.