Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 260 pounds
Hometown/High School: Spotsylvania, Virginia (Spotsylvania H.S.)
Notable Offers: Maryland, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, USC
Recruiting, man. Before landing a 2021 tight end or a 2022 commit, Penn State’s 2023 class now has a tight end commit in the form of Mathias “Mega” Barnwell.
Even though Barnwell just finished his freshman year of high school, he is a player that quickly burst onto the recruiting scene. The Nittany Lions are one of 11 FBS and nine Power 5 offers Barnwell holds. He was offered by the Nittany Lions when he was in town for the White Out victory over Michigan last October. With the offer, the Nittany Lions quickly shot up his list.
The Virginia native was back in town for junior day on February 1. He was also able to visit Virginia Tech in early March before the coronavirus pandemic led to the still ongoing emergency dead period.
With Penn State having taken the lead in Barnwell’s recruitment, he decided he was ready to wrap things up very early. In fact, this is the earliest commitment of the James Franklin era. Micah Parsons, who would eventually de-commit before re-committing, and Sean Clifford both committed before their junior years, but this is the first pre-sophomore year commitment for Franklin and his staff since coming to Happy Valley.
First and foremost, Penn State will continue to recruit Barnwell as if he is un-committed. He is still 30 months away from being able to sign a letter of intent. So, despite his commitment, there is a long way to go in this recruitment.
All of that said, Barnwell is extremely active on social media. Due to this, he could become a vocal class leader for the Nittany Lions 2023 class. It will be up to Franklin and his staff to do what they can to keep Barnwell in the fold for the next 30 months.
Right now Barnwell is a tight end commit and intends to play tight end at the collegiate level. Whenever 2023 recruiting rankings are released, he will almost assuredly be the top rated tight end in the class. However, mother nature tends to win out in these situations. He is already 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds. So the odds of him remaining at tight end in the long haul seem slim.
With his size and length, he could be a good defensive end. But with his athleticism, his best position at the collegiate level will likely be offensive tackle. While Barnwell is currently listed as a tight end, there is a good shot the Nittany Lions just landed a top notch offensive tackle commit for 2023.