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Early NSD 2022: Penn State Recruiting Class Superlatives

National Signing Day Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Early National Signing Day has come and gone with Penn State signing 23 players yesterday. We’ll have tons of recruiting content over the next few weeks, but as always, we’ll start with our yearly class superlatives. As a reminder: each player can only get named for one superlative. Sorry, Drew Allar — you can’t win all of them.

Best Overall: QB Drew Allar

Although I think Allar is going to be the pick for most people, this isn’t a far-and-away obvious answer. I think Dani Dennis-Sutton, Nicholas Singleton, and even Kaden Saunders could make a case for the best overall player in the class. But here’s the thing: it’s not often you sign a 6-foot-4, 230-pound quarterback with the best arm in the class. Nothing will compare to signing an elite quarterback, so for that reason, Allar gets this spot.

Highest Upside: DE/LB Abdul Carter

Dennis-Sutton would certainly be a good (and obvious) choice here, but I am going outside the box with this one with Carter. At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds and having run a 4.5 forty for the Penn State staff, Carter very well could be the best pure athlete in the class. To add onto that, he’s quite the football player already, playing like a heat seeking missile at linebacker. Here’s the thing though: Carter could be a good linebacker — maybe even a very good linebacker. But his greatest upside is at defensive end. Beef him up to 250 pounds and let him attack the quarterback every play. He has double-digit sack, first round pick type upside at defensive end.

Instant Impact (Offense): RB Nicholas Singleton

While Penn State’s offensive line had a large role in the running games struggles, none of the running backs looked particularly great, which opens the way for both Singleton and Kaytron Allen to compete for the job right away. Although Allen has the leg up with the competition he’s been playing against — IMG’s national schedule compared to Governor Mifflin — Singleton is the more highly-touted back, being ranked the No. 1 RB in the class according to 247Sports. He’ll enroll early too, which should greatly benefit him in seeing the field early.

Instant Impact (Special Teams): P Alex Bacchetta

With Jordan Stout (likely) out, Bacchetta is the heavy favorite to take over as the starting punter. I mean, you don’t bring in a scholarship K/P to sit on the bench.

Most Underrated: S Kevin Winston

I’m going to save my effusive praise for the Meet The Class articles we’ll run in a couple weeks, but for the life of me, I have no idea how Winston spent most of his recruitment as a three-star and then barely got his fourth star just a few weeks ago. This kid is a Top 150 player, and it really isn’t close in my mind.

Most Versatile: Mehki Flowers

Flowers could be a heck of a receiver, but from comments James Franklin made yesterday, it sounds like Flowers’ home will be safety. That’s a good thing, too, because Flowers’ upside is higher in the secondary. Still, I don’t think Penn State could go wrong with either position. Flowers is just a really good football player.

Longest Member: WR Kaden Saunders

Saunders just barely edges out Jerry Cross for the prospect that has been committed to Penn State the longest. Saunders committed July 25, while Cross joined the class on July 28.

Class Leader: DE Ken Talley

Find someone who supports you the way that Ken Talley supports Penn State.

Talley had tons of tweets like this ever since he committed. Always hyping up his fellow commits, and always trying to sell Penn State to prospective recruits.

Fastest: ATH Omari Evans

Kaden Saunders may stake some claim to this title as well, but Penn State pushed for Evans back in September for one main reason: speed. I mean, this dude has “4.32” in his Twitter bio. You know you are stupid fast when you don’t list your height, weight, GPA, or any of that other nonsense.

Biggest: OT Maleek McNeil

At 6-foot-7, 340 pounds, McNeil immediately becomes the biggest player on Penn State’s roster. He’s just an absolute behemoth of an 18-year-old.

Biggest Recruiting Win: DE Dani Dennis-Sutton

Allar and Singleton could fit here for their own reasons, but I’m going with DDS here. First and foremost, defensive end is such an important position and they haven’t had someone of DDS’s caliber in a while. No offense to Jayson Oweh who was a top-tier recruit in his own right, but he was more “potential” than player. And secondly, just how closely Georgia made this one down the stretch. Great that Penn State was able to see this one through the finish line.

Most Surprising Recruiting Win: RB Kaytron Allen

Maybe it was because so much of the focus was on Singleton, but Allen flew under the radar a bit despite being a Virginia native. He took the June tour of official visits — Penn State, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, and Michigan State — with the Nittany Lions ending up being the pick. Very nice surprise to have a Top 130 running back as the second RB in the class.

Biggest Recruiting Loss: DE Enai White

Perhaps it goes with the territory of having the No. 6 ranked class, but I wouldn’t say there was one major recruiting loss that overshadows any others. Would have been nice to land another offensive tackle, but that was more about the lack of options in the region than missing on one or two big names. Four-star linebacker Moses Walker could be a fit here too, just given the depth issues at linebacker. But I’m going with Top 50 Philly defensive end Enai White, who eliminated Penn State very early in the process. That had to have been a difficult pill for the Penn State staff to swallow, to have an elite defensive end in your state and to not even make the Top 5 — tough look. Hopefully with some renewed emphasize on Philadelphia, this type of blooper doesn’t happen again.