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Blessed & Honored: 3/31/20

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COVID-19 be damned, Penn State football recruiting carries on!

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

TOP GROUPS

In the past week the Nittany Lions cracked a quartet of top groups. One of these top groups was the top 15 of Pennsylvania safety Donovan McMillon.

Currently, it is unclear how high McMillon is on Penn State’s safety board. Michigan and Notre Dame appear to be the current leaders for the Peters Township standout, but this could change if the Nittany Lions push. However, the Nittany Lions pushing further may hinge on them missing out on their top targets at safety, which, right now, looks unlikely to happen.

Penn State would also crack the top 10 for Texas tight end Lake McRee.

The three-star Texan was offered shortly after tight end Nick Elksnis de-comitted from Penn State. By putting the Nittany Lions in his top group it is obvious that McRee is interested in Penn State, but in order to be true contenders in the recruitment Penn State will need to get McRee to campus for a visit.

Another top 10 that Penn State cracked is that of tight end Terrance Ferguson.

The four-star Colorado native has never visited campus. So, like McRee, it is necessary to get him on campus in order to be a true player in his recruitment.

Sticking with tight ends. Shout out to Tyler Bowen. The Nittany Lions also cracked the top 6 of Ohio native Jack Pugh.

Prior to recruiting visits being shutdown due to the coronavirus, Pugh was set to visit Penn State last week. Obviously, this visit did not occur. This is a recruitment that is shaping up to be a Big Ten battle.

With the success of Mike Gesicki and Pat Freiermuth in recent seasons, it is not a surprise to see so many talented tight ends interested in Penn State. While it is unclear who the tight end Penn State will sign in 2021 will be, there is no doubt that it will be a talented one.

NEW OFFERS

This past week James Franklin and his staff have been busy extending offers to players in both the 2021 and 2022 recruiting cycles.

There were a pair of defensive end offers in the 2021 class. These offers went to George Wilson and Trevion Stevenson, both of whom are Virginia natives.

Neither player has yet to visit Penn State, but the Nittany Lions should be big players in each recruitment. This is often the case with players from Virginia, a state Penn State has recruited extremely well in recent cycles.

In recent weeks, Stevenson is a player whose recruitment has blown up. Since March 16, in addition to Penn State Stevenson has added offers from Tennessee, Iowa State, Michigan, Texas, and Georgia Tech. Stevenson appears to be a player whose rating is about to explode, he also told Brian Dohn of 247Sports that he grew up a Penn State fan. If the Nittany Lions push, it appears they will be tough to beat in Stevenson’s recruitment.

The most notable 2022 offer went out to in-state quarterback Beau Pribula.

After picking up his offer, the York native was very open about being a lifelong Nittany Lion fan. Additionally, five 247Sports crystal ball predictions have been logged for the Nittany Lions since he was offered. Unless Penn State says no, it is difficult to envision Pribula not ending up a member of Penn State’s 2022 class.

Now, it should be mentioned, it remains to be seen if Penn State is recruiting Pribula as a quarterback or an athlete. Either way, this offer will not slow their pursuit of Delaware product Braden Davis. Davis is arguably the top quarterback in 2022, he has visited Penn State multiple times, and the Nittany Lions find themselves among the early leaders.

Another noteworthy in-state 2022 offer went out of cornerback Keenan Nelson Jr.

Nelson Jr. attends St. Joe’s Prep in Philadelphia. The same school as long time cornerback stalwart John Reid. The Nittany Lions are the 8th Power 5 offer for Nelson Jr. Penn State has struggled in the Philadelphia area in recent cycle, hopefully, the four-star cornerback can help turn that tide.

A FACETIME MEETING WITH A TOP OL TARGET

In what has become the norm in recruiting, coach Franklin was joined by offensive line coach Phil Trautwein on a FaceTime with top-100 offensive lineman Rocco Spindler.

During a junior day in January, Spindler visited Happy Valley and the Nittany Lions have been among his top schools ever since. Once the world returns to normal it will be key for the Nittany Lions to get Spindler back on campus. Right now, his recruitment appears to be a four horse race between the Nittany Lions, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State.

Spindler comes from a great lineage, especially for offensive lineman. His dad was a star offensive line man for Pitt before going on to have a 9-year NFL career. Pulling Spindler out of the Wolverine state would be a tremendous recruiting victory for coach Franklin, coach Trautwein, and the Nittany Lions.