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Blessed & Honored: 2020 Scholarship Breakdown

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

Quite a bit has happened in recruiting recently. Penn State picked up two new commitments yesterday — wideout Parker Washington and cornerback Joseph Johnson — which brought the Nittany Lions’ 2020 recruiting class to 18 total prospects. That may seem like a large number considering it’s only July 3, but taking a closer look at the scholarship situation for the 2020 season, and it’s easy to see how much room Penn State has to work with for the 2020 class.


OFFENSE: 38 Scholarships

DEFENSE & SPECIAL TEAMS: 47 Scholarship

TOTAL SCHOLARSHIPS: 85

So as currently situated, Penn State would be at the limit for the amount of scholarship players they can carry on the 2020 team. But as we know with NFL prospects like Yetur Gross-Matos, and the ever-evolving transfer world of the NCAA, there will surely be some attrition on the roster between now and next February. In the past, a good working number had been 8-10 departures during the offseason, but with the transfer portal in place, I’d say a conservative 10-12 is now a better starting point.

All of that is basically to say: Penn State can fit a full class of *25-28 with no issue for 2020. So as you see the Nittany Lions continue to pick up commits in the coming months, there’s not going to be really any need to worry about how they will make it fit. Trust me, they will have room.

*It is difficult finding an official ruling on how many prospects a school can take in a class: Ole Miss, for example, took a 31-man class last year. I was under the impression that it was 25-28 depending upon how many you can backtrack with early-enrollees, so my working max number is 28.

Jumping back to screenshots above, a few thoughts:

  • Tight End: Goes without saying, but getting at least one in this class is an absolute must, and I think two might be a smart play. I have a feeling Freiermuth isn’t going to have a long career in Happy Valley so it might be best to plan for his early departure now.
  • Offensive Line: Even with some decommitments on the offensive front, the Nittany Lions are still in a good position here. Fifteen is about the number you want to carry so they are just about on target.
  • Defensive End: Pretty safe bet that Gross-Matos won’t be in the equation here so this number is actually eight, not nine. Add in that three of those defensive ends (Simmons, Toney, and Joseph) are projected to be redshirt seniors, and that makes defensive end a pretty big need in this class. Definitely need two more.
  • Defensive Tackle: Okay, I actually like all the defensive tackles up there. When I go through each name, I don’t think to myself, “Hmm, shouldn’t be there.” But also — 13 defensive tackles is waaaaay too many. I mean, I’m all for over-recruiting a premium position where depth is very important, but you’d still want that number at more like 10. Something will have to give there.
  • Linebacker: Think one more linebacker makes sense. Maybe even two if a certain linebacker gets moved to defensive end for his junior season.
  • Secondary: One more safety, two more cornerbacks. Really like the addition of Joseph Johnson to give them some length.
  • Punter/Kicker: I would prefer they take one this class.