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Trackin’ the Portal (Updated: Thursday, 12/30)

Potential targets for the Nittany Lions.

Texas v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

Our new normal: transfer portal season has commenced. Last week was the first big week of players announcing their intentions to transfer, and it will only continue this week and the rest of the offseason. Because of that, I’m starting this post where I plan to update it as intriguing transfer portal options arise.

Obviously, this thing isn’t going to be an exact science just given how many players enter the portal. It’s basically impossible to keep up with every name. But given Penn State’s use — and success — using the transfer portal last year, we got an idea of the type of player Penn State will target.

  1. Local ties: Derrick Tangelo, John Lovett, and Arnold Ebiketie were all from the region — Maryland, New Jersey, and Maryland respectively.
  2. Previous recruits: John Dixon and Lovett both had offers from Penn State coming out of high school, while Tangelo camped in Happy Valley.

That isn’t to say that Penn State is out of it if a player doesn’t fall into one of those categories, but given how much Franklin preaches *relationships* it does seem relatively important.

Note: My plan is to update this thread every ~2 days or so. If something pertinent happens, I’ll try to get to it ASAP — aka, one of these prospects is visiting Penn State. Newest information will be at the top of the page with it dated for when I posted it.


OL — J.D. DiRenzo, Sacred Heart (SR)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-6, 315 pounds
2021 Stats: 12 starts at LT

Similar to Cornell’s Hunter Nourzad (who does have a Penn State offer), DiRenzo plays tackle at the FCS level but would project as a guard at the FBS level. While DiRenzo has earned some impressive accolades — he was named first team all-conference — the NEC isn’t exactly top-tier FCS with the likes of Duquesne, Saint Francis, and Central Connecticut State. (12/30)

S — Isheem Young, Iowa State (RS JR)
Height/Weight: 5-foot-10, 210 pounds
2021 Stats: 55 tackles, 2 interceptions

For those that don’t know the Young backstory. He was a highly sought after Philly recruit from the 2018 class who committed to Penn State during the summer of 2017. A couple weeks go back, and Young is then arrested for his role in a robbery of a Wawa. Obviously, Penn State rescinded its offer following the arrest. You can read more on the story here, but Young eventually pleaded guilty in May 2018. By February 2019 he signed with Iowa State, and from all accounts, has been an upstanding member of the Cyclone program.

Penn State doesn’t have a crazy huge need for a starting safety, but Young — a second team All-Big 12 honoree — would fit nicely for the departing Jaquan Brisker. Is a reunion between Young and Franklin possible? Doesn’t seem likely, but Young is one of the better players in the portal. (12/30)


DE — Lonnie Phelps, Miami-OH (JR)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 244 pounds
2021 Stats: 30 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 13.5 TFLs

Originally from Cincinnati, Phelps had a breakout 2021 season despite the fact he wasn’t one of the starting defensive ends. He finished the season with an impressive 8.5 sacks and 13.5 TFLs — both of which were good enough for 3rd and 4th in the MAC. He’s already receiving Power 5 interest, with Kansas coming through with an offer on December 24. (12/27)

OT — Ryan Swoboda, UVA (RS SR)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-10, 325 pounds
2021 Stats: 12 starts at RT

Another Virginia entrant, Swoboda was a massive presence at right tackle given his 6-foot-10 frame. He’ll be a super senior in 2022, and having started for the Cavs the last two seasons, he’ll bring with him 22 games of starting experience. (12/27)

WR — Mitchell Tinsley, Western Kentucky (SR)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 205 pounds
2021 Stats: 87 receptions, 1,402 yards, 14 touchdowns

In case you missed it, Penn State landed Tinsley on Christmas Eve. While there could be some wide receiver attrition that causes the Nittany Lions to go after another wide receiver, it’s likely that Tinsley will be Penn State’s lone wide receiver addition. (12/27)


OT — Miles Frazier, FIU (RS SO)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 304 pounds
2021 Stats: 12 starts at LT

Penn State joined the fray for the young left tackle from Camden, but Frazier has an offer list that would resemble a five-star recruit. He put out a top three of Ohio State, Florida State, and LSU so we’ll see if Penn State can work themselves into this one. (12/16)

***Update 12/17*** Frazier committed to LSU


OG — Hunter Nourzad, Cornell (RS JR)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 298 pounds
2021 Stats: 10 starts at RT

Despite cutting ties with Harvard offensive tackle Spencer Rolland, Penn State is continuing to look at Ivy League products as they offered Cornell right tackle Hunter Nourzad last week. The first team All-Ivy League selection has been a tackle at Cornell, but would likely move to the interior at the FBS level. Good list of offers so far: Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Northwestern, Louisville, and Purdue. (12/13)

WR — Jake Bobo, Duke (SR)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 215 pounds
2021 Stats: 74 receptions, 801 yards, 1 TD

Rumored to be entering the portal for about a week now, Bobo officially announced his intentions on Friday. Penn State would seemingly make a lot of sense here. There’s a need for a big bodied, possession wideout like Bobo. Bobo is originally from Massachusetts, so he’s a regional kid. Toss in that Derrick Tangelo worked out well for Penn State (and vice versa), and this is one that seems pretty realistic. (12/13)

***Update 12/15*** Bobo committed to UCLA


OC — Victor Oluwatimi, UVA (RS SR)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 310 pounds
2021 Stats: 12 starts at C

One of the three finalist for the Rimington Trophy which goes to the best center in the nation, Oluwatimi has blossomed from a two-star prospect out of Maryland’s DeMatha high school into one of the best interior offensive lineman in the country. If you watched Penn State’s blocking this year, you’d know why Oluwatimi should be a high priority. (12/8)

***Update 12/30*** Oluwatimi committed to Michigan

OT — Bobby Haskins, UVA (SR)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-7, 295 pounds
2021 Stats: 12 starts at LT

An honorable mention All-ACC member this past season, Haskins was the Cavaliers’ starting left tackle. He’s originally from Connecticut, but was a 2018 graduate of The Hun School in New Jersey — the alma mater of 2019 graduate Caedan Wallace. (12/8)

***Update 12/27*** Haskins committed to Southern Cal

LB — Noah Taylor, Virginia (RS SR)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 235 pounds
2021 Stats: 69 tackles, 8 TFLs, 3 sacks

Long, athletic, and extremely productive — 28.5 TFLs over the last three seasons (37 games) — Taylor will be one of the most sought after linebackers in the portal. From Penn State’s perspective, I could see him being a fit at either the Will or the Sam. So depending upon Brandon Smith’s draft decision, Taylor (a Silver Springs, Maryland native) seems like an ideal Penn State prospect. (12/8)

***Update 12/30*** Taylor committed to North Carolina

LB — Jacoby Windmon, UNLV (SR) — OFFERED
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 230 pounds
2021 Stats: 119 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, 6.5 sacks

The lone guy on here who does not fit the mold of a usual Penn State transfer target, but as you can see above, Windmon was extremely productive at UNLV. Offered by Texas, Michigan State, Iowa State, Missouri, and a host of others. Given Penn State’s issues at linebacker — especially if Brandon Smith leaves early — Windmon would have a decent shot of starting in Happy Valley. (12/6)

***Update 12/8*** Windmon committed to Michigan State


WR — Jadan Blue, Temple (RS SR)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-0, 185 pounds
2021 Stats: 30 receptions, 185 yards, 1 TD (8 games)

Blue didn’t have a great 2021 season, but that mostly says more about Temple’s offense than it does Blue when you consider that Blue had 135 catches for 1,448 yards and 9 TDs. He’s only reported offers from UConn and Tulane so far, but tweeted that he wants to play Power 5 football. (12/6)

WR — Tyrese Chambers, FIU (JR)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 185 pounds
2021 Stats: 45 receptions, 1,074 yards, 9 TDs

Originally from Maryland, Chambers was a big time big play threat during his lone season at Florida International, averaging over 23 yards per reception. Power 5 programs certainly took notice with schools like Purdue, Nebraska, Florida State, and Arizona State offering already. (12/6)

***Update 12/27*** Chambers is staying at FIU

WR — Taj Harris, Syracuse (SR)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 180 pounds
2020 Stats: 58 receptions, 733 yards, 5 TDs

Harris played just three games for the Orange this year before deciding to enter the transfer portal. He originally committed to Kentucky before backing out of his commitment during the first week of December. (12/6)

WR — Tayvion Robinson, Virginia Tech (JR)
Height/Weight: 5-foot-10, 187 yards
2021 Stats: 44 receptions, 559 yards, 5 TDs

Virginia Tech’s leading receiver each of the past two seasons, Robinson is a dangerous slot man. Obviously with Parker Washington and the enrolling Kaden Saunders, the Nittany Lions don’t have a huge need for another slot wideout. But Robinson might be just that talented that you make an exception. However, there is some smoke that he could be headed Kentucky’s way. (12/6)

***Update 12/15*** Robinson committed to Kentucky

DE — Jared Verse, Albany (RS SO)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 247 pounds
2021 Stats: 52 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 11.5 TFLs

Really productive FCS defensive end that is originally from Berwick, PA. He’s landed offers from Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue, West Virginia, and Utah. Verse told 247 he wants to make a decision by mid-to-late December, so timing may be off here given that Penn State might only seriously go after him if Jesse Luketa leaves early. (12/6)

S — MJ Griffin, Temple (RS SO)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 200 pounds
2021 Stats: 65 tackles, 3 TFLs, 0 INTs

How about going back to the Temple well? The Nittany Lions could use some depth at safety after losing Tyler Rudolph and Enzo Jennings, and Griffin would certainly give them that. Power 5 offers already include Nebraska, Kansas, Louisville, and Georgia Tech. Originally from Michigan. (12/6)

***Update 12/12*** Griffin committed to Louisville