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Blessed & Honored: 4/7/2020

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It’s going to be a fun week in the world of Penn State Football recruiting

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl Classic-Memphis vs Penn State Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

GAINING MOMENTUM IN MICHIGAN

Folks, get ready for a big week in the world of Penn State Football recruiting via the state of Michigan. Last week, four-star safety Jaylen Reed announced he planned to commit on May 10. Now, he has moved that up to this Thursday.

Reed attends Martin Luther King High School in Detroit, which is the alma mater of safeties coach Tim Banks. Since Reed announced his intentions to commit, the 247Sports crystal ball predictions have come flooding in for the Nittany Lions.

In addition to Reed, it appears the Nittany Lions will be picking up two other commitments from the state of Michigan this week. Four-star cornerback Kalen King and three-star linebacker Kobe King - yes, they’re twins - plan to announce their commitment on Friday.

The King twins attend Cass Tech in Detroit. Like Reed, since the twins announced their intention to commit the Nittany Lions own each 247Sports crystal ball prediction for the King twins.

Ge ready for a fun Thursday and Friday, folks!

Assuming these three players do indeed jump on board, that could be a big boost for the Nittany Lions in the recruitment of four-star linebacker Jamari Buddin.

The Belleville native has long been viewed as a Michigan lean. However, he is close with Reed and the King twins. Additionally, Buddin had a great visit to Penn State in January that saw the Nittany Lions shoot up his list of top schools. Getting Reed and the King twins on board could make the Nittany Lions the team to beat in Buddin’s recruitment.

Penn State also continues to make waves in the recruitment of top-100 offensive lineman Rocco Spindler. The fellow Michigan native may still have Notre Dame and Michigan at the top of his list, but the Nittany Lions have been picking up steam since his visit in January.

When things are all said and done for Penn State’s 2021 class, the January junior day when James Franklin and his staff got a large contingency of players from Michigan on campus could prove to be a great one for the Nittany Lions.

TOP GROUPS

This past week seven 2021 prospects released a top group that included Penn State. We will start in the state of Maryland, where the Nittany Lions made a quartet of top groups.

Starting with the wide receivers, Penn State may be the current leader for Kaden Prather. Penn State holds all three crystal ball predictions for the Germantown, MD, native on 247Sports. Prather has been a frequent visitor to Happy Valley throughout his recruitment, with his most recent visit coming back in December. All signs point toward the Nittany Lions being in a great spot in this recruitment.

As for Dont’e Thornton, the top-100 wide receiver was at one point a Penn State commit. It is uncommon for a player to commit from a school and still sign with said school. But, hey there Micah Parsons!, it happens. Since de-committing, Thornton has still been on campus multiple times. While Penn State may currently be playing catch up here, he does not plan to announce until January and the Nittany Lions should have as good a chance as anyone to secure a signature from Thornton.

Penn State also cracked the top 5 for four-star Maryland defensive tackle Monkell Goodwine. To be honest, it was a bit of a surprise to see the Nittany Lions crack Goodwine’s top group. All signs point toward Goodwine heading south. Additionally, due to some happenings last cycle, Penn State does not have the best of relationships at the moment with National Christian Academy, where Goodwine attends.

Finally, there is quarterback Christian Veilleux. The Canadian native, and four-star product, now attends the Bullis School in Maryland. Prior to being offered by Clemson this past week, the Nittany Lions appeared to be the leaders for Veilleux. Prior to the coronavirus creating a recruiting dead period that will now run through at least May, Veilleux was able to visit campus and meet with new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Kirk Ciarrocca. The virus also canceled a scheduled visit to Clemson. These two things could be vital as Veilleux shoots for an early summer commitment.

Heading out West, there is four-star tight end Brock Bowers.

Prior to the unexpected dead period, Bowers was able to make it to Penn State for a visit. Combine this with Penn State’s success at tight end since the 2016 season and it is no surprise to see the Nittany Lions make the list. While pulling Bowers in from California would be a surprise, the Nittany Lions will likely remain a dark horse in this recruitment until the end.

Heading down to the state of Florida, Penn State made the top group for five-star linebacker Terrence Lewis and three-star cornerback Philip Riley.

Pulling Lewis would take a monumental effort, but Penn State has recruited linebacker as well as any school in the country in recent cycles. Additionally, he attends Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Miami. Chaminade-Madonna is a school running backs coach JaJuan Seider has a lot of connections at, it is also the same school that produced current Nittany Lions wide receiver John Dunmore.

Riley was not offered by the Nittany Lions until March 17. However, since the offer he has spoke highly of Penn State. However, the Nittany Lions may soon experience at run at defensive back, which could potentially play a role in Riley's recruitment.

NEW OFFERS

The Nittany Lion coaching staff sent out a trio of new offers to 2021 prospects this past week.

One of these offers that was extended went to three-star Texas running back Alton McCaskill. McCaskill is a fast rising prospect that has picked up five new Power 5 offers since February. With the Nittany Lions continuing to search for who the running back will be in this class, they will likely make a push to get McCaskill on campus once recruiting opens back up.

Another 2021 prospect that was extended an offer is offensive lineman Drew Kendall.

Kendall is a Dedham, MA, native, and one of the top interior offensive line prospects in the country. Kendall is a legacy recruit for Boston College, and it could be tough for any school to pry away from the Golden Eagles. However, he has a great relationship with Penn State offensive line coach Phil Trautwein from his days on Chestnut Hill. If the Nittany Lions can get Kendall on campus for a visit, he could become yet another top-100 offensive lineman whose recruitment the Nittany Lions find themselves squarely involved in.

Penn State also offered 2021 linebacker Patrick Payton.

Payton attends Northwestern High School in Miami. With all signs pointing toward the Nittany Lions picking up a linebacker commitment on Friday, as well as them potentially trending for Buddin, linebacker recruiting could be closed up in a hurry.

The coaching staff also extended a pair of offers to 2022 prospects. These two players are Ohio athlete C.J. Hicks and South Carolina defensive lineman Nicholas Williams.

Hicks is shaping up to be one of the top players in the state of Ohio for 2022. He already holds 11 Power 5 offers. Hopefully, the Nittany Lions getting in on Hicks early could make a difference in the long run. Williams is a player new defensive line coach John Scott has a relationship with from his time at South Carolina. Due to this, it would not be a surprise to see the Nittany Lions be players in Williams recruitment.