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Blessed & Honored: Big Board Edition

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With a hectic month of visits in one and the early rush of July visits in the rear view mirror let’s take a look at where the Penn State recruiting big board stands

Michigan State v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

No. 12 - Offensive Lineman Gunner Givens

There was a time when Gunner Givens was a five-star prospect and it appeared Clemson would be almost impossible to beat in his recruitment. While Givens is still a highly rated prospect, he is not the seemingly elite offensive lineman he was once viewed as. Givens had a strong official visit to Penn State in June, but it does not appear that visit was enough to overtake in the in-state Hokies who are the heavy favorites to land a commitment from Givens when he announces on Friday.

No. 11 - Wide Receiver Darrius Clemons

Four-star Oregon wide receiver Darrius Clemons is not a recruit that would jump off the page at anyone as a potential future Nittany Lion. However, two of his best relationships are Penn State wide receiver coach Taylor Stubblefield and wide receiver commit Kaden Saunders. Clemons also had a great official visit to Happy Valley in June. If wide receiver was a bigger need at this point of the cycle then Clemons, who plans to make a decision late in the cycle following fall visits, cold find himself even higher on the list.

No. 10 - Linebacker Moses Walker

Penn State hosted four-star linebacker Moses Walker for an official visit in June. While the visit went well and thrusted the Nittany Lions into his top two, Rutgers had built up a huge lead here and still appear to be the school to beat. With Penn State searching for another linebacker they will continue to push for Walker, but a commitment to Rutgers, and potentially soon, appears to be the likely outcome in his recruitment.

No. 9 - Linebacker Abdul Carter

Entering the summer it was not clear where the La Salle College linebacker stood on Penn State’s board. It was not even clear if Abdul Carter was a linebacker or a defensive end for the Nittany Lions. Following a great workout as a linebacker in early June he shot up their linebacker board and then officially visited campus later in the month. This is another recruitment that will likely carry into the fall, it is also one the Nittany Lions appear to be gaining steam and momentum in.

No. 8 - Cornerback Jordan Allen

Jordan Allen is a fast rising name in the world of Penn State football recruiting. The three-star Lafayette, Louisiana, could be making a college decision sooner rather than later and the Nittany Lions are among his top two or three schools. Four of his five future casts predictions on Rivals are in favor of the Nittany Lions. With Penn State still searching for two cornerbacks in this class Allen could quickly become a name to watch in the next few weeks.

No. 7 - Safety Cristian Driver

Texas four-star Cristian Driver officially visited Penn State in June. Entering the visit the Nittany Lions led for Driver and now appear to be a lock to land his commitment when he announces on July 29. We will get more into this later, but the Nittany Lions appear to be one their way to assembling one hell of a safety class.

No. 6 - Linebacker Jaishawn Barham

The only reason Jaishawn Barham is not higher on the list is due to the Nittany Lions fighting an uphill battle. The top-100 linebacker made it to campus for an unofficial visit in June, and it appears to be shaping up to be a Penn State/Maryland battle, but the Nittany Lions appear to be trailing the Terrapins. If Penn State can get Barham and his family back to campus for an official visit they could have a shot at surpassing the Terps, but right now it appears the Nittany Lions will finish runner up in this recruitment.

No. 5 - Cornerback Cam Miller

Cam Miller was a player who took two visits, one official and one unofficial, to Penn State in June. Coming out of the visits, the Nittany Lions appear to have emerged as the leaders in his recruitment. With Penn State’s cornerback board going through a major shake up the past few weeks, Miller has quickly become one of their top remaining targets. The four-star Florida native has expressed interest in making a decision before his senior season starts in the fall, and right now the Nittany Lions appear to be the team best positioned to earn his commitment.

No. 4 - Running Back Kaytron Allen

Throughout the cycle Penn State planned on taking two running backs. While for much of the cycle it was not clear who those two running backs would be, with the recruiting prowess of JaJuan Seider it was clear it would be two good ones. Last week the Nittany Lions landing a commitment from elite in-state running back Nick Singleton, now they appear primed to land a commitment from four-star IMG product Kaytron Allen on Friday. Penn State hit a home run on Allen’s official visit in June and now appear to be on their way to building a running back class of Allen and Singleton.

No. 3 - Offensive Tackle Andre Roye

Do not let Andre Roye’s rating fool you. Roye has shot up Penn State’s offensive line board for a reason. He has excellent feet and is a plus athlete at the position. With Penn State still in need of another offensive tackle in this class Roye has become one of their top remaining targets. Roye also attends regional powerhouse St. Frances Academy where the Nittany Lions have struggled to make inroads, landing Roye could start the path toward that as well.

No. 2 - Safety KJ Winston

We mentioned above that Penn State could be assembling one hell of a safety class. They already have the top JUCO safety in the class on board in Tyrece Mills, as well as four-star athlete Mehki Flowers who projects to be an elite safety at the collegiate level. In addition to the aforementioned Driver, the Nittany Lions also appear to be the leaders for DeMatha Catholic star KJ Winston. Few players in the region are more underrated than Winston. Another recruitment that is shaping up to be a Penn State/Maryland battle, Winston will likely announce his college decision before the fall. This one will be a fight to the finish, but the Nittany Lions appear to have the upper hand right now.

No. 1 - Defensive End Dani Dennis-Sutton

There’s an argument to be made that Dani Dennis-Sutton has been sitting at the top of Penn State’s big board for this cycle from the get go. With a July 22 decision date looming, DDS remains at the top fo the big board. He attends a school in McDonogh that has been a pipeline for Penn State in recent cycles, the Nittany Lions have led for most of the cycle, and he is an elite game wrecker who can make an immediate impact next fall. This is a recruitment in which the Nittany Lions must find a way to fend off Georgia and close things out. These are the types of recruitments that must be won in order to construct a College Football Playoff caliber roster.