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Blessed & Honored: 9/21/2021

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Happy Valley was the place to be for high school football recruits this past weekend

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

RECRUITS FLOCK TO THE WHITE OUT

The White Out is one of the premiere recruiting events of each and every college football season. Without their being a White Out in 2020 due to COVID-19, the 2021 White Out was an even hotter ticket for recruits than usual.

Leading the large contingency of visitors to campus this past weekend were Penn State commits. Quarterbacks Drew Allar and Beau Pribula, running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen, offensive linemen Maleek McNeil and Drew Shelton, linebackers Keon Wylie and Abdul Carter, defensive ends Ken Talley and Dani Dennis-Sutton, defensive tackle Zane Durant, wide receiver Kaden Saunders, defensive back Jordan Allen, and punter Alex Bacchetta were among the commits on campus.

2023 offensive line commit Alex Birchmeier joined the 2022 commits on campus for the White Out. Birchmeier was also joined by cornerback Lamont Payne, who committed to the Nittany Lions at halftime on Saturday night.

Among the players joining Penn State’s commits on campus is arguably their top remaining 2022 target - linebacker Jaishawn Barham. The St. Frances Academy (MD) product was on campus for an official visit this past weekend, marking his second visit in the last three months after he unofficially visited campus in June.

Entering the weekend the Nittany Lions appeared to be in a battle with Maryland and Florida for Barham. While the Terrapins may have entered the weekend as the leaders for Barham, getting him on campus for an official visit, especially during a White Out, gave the Nittany Lions an opportunity to make a big move in Barham’s recruitment. This is a recruitment that will likely come down to National Signing Day.

Joining Barham as an official visitor to campus this past weekend was three-star Texas wide receiver Omari Evans. An Ohio native, Evans now plays his high school football at Shoemaker High School in the Lone Star State where Evans has blossomed into one of the fastest receiver recruits in the country. If the Nittany Lions push for Evans and his elite speed they could be tough to beat.

Another top remaining 2022 target for the Nittany Lions that made it to campus was offensive tackle Aamil Wagner. The top-100 offensive tackle had previously taken an official visit to Penn State in June.

Based on what Wagner told Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports after the game, it appears the Nittany Lions may have made a move in the recruitment of the talented Ohio native. Wagner’s recruitment appears to be a four team race between the Nittany Lions, Kentucky, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Wagner intends to announce his college decision at the All-American Bowl in January. While Penn State still has work to do in this recruitment, they definitely improved their chances with Wagner over the weekend.

The 2023 visitor list was one of the more impressive ones you will ever see. Five-star quarterback Dante Moore was on campus for the second time in the last two months. Five-star defensive lineman Jason Moore out of regional, and national, powerhouse DeMatha Catholic in Maryland was also in attendance for the Nittany Lion victory.

Four-star offensive lineman Antonio Tripp was also in town. Tripp attends the McDonogh School which has become a Penn State pipeline in recent years. If the Nittany Lions push for Tripp it’s hard to picture him ending up anywhere else.

Another noteworthy visitor from the DMV area is tight end, and former Penn State commit, Mega Barnwell. This was Barnwell’s third visit to Happy Valley since de-committing from the Nittany Lions as Penn State continues to be a major player in his recruitment.

Another big-time 2023 recruit that made it to town was high four-star linebacker Ta’Mere Robinson. The Pittsburgh Area native will have offers from every major program in the country. Right now, the Nittany Lions appear to be solidly in Robinson’s top three along with Ohio State and Notre Dame. The Nittany Lions need to continue to get Robinson on campus as often as possible.

Staying with Pennsylvania linebackers three-star Pennridge product Phil Picciotti was also in attendance. Pennridge is the same school that produced current Nittany Lion defensive end Nick Tarburton.

At this point in his recruitment Picciotti should be on commit watch each time he makes it to campus.

Speaking of commit watch for the second time in as many home games this season Exeter Township tight end Joey Schlaffer was on campus. Each 247Sports crystal ball pick for Schlaffer is in favor of the Nittany Lions and it appears a decision could come at any time.

Staying in Eastern PA, but going to the 2024 cycle, St. Joe’s Prep cornerback Omilio Agard was in town. Agard is shaping up to be one of the top cornerback recruits in the region in his cycle and has quickly become a regular visitor to campus.

Agard was joined by his teammate, 2023 linebacker Josiah Trotter. Like Agard, Trotter has been a regular on campus since the NCAA dead period ended this past June. Four-star 2023 St. Joe’s EDGE rushed James Heard, who has also been on campus multiple times, made another visit as well.

One of the top defensive linemen in the region for the 2023 cycle is Bergen Catholic (NJ) defensive tackle Sydir Mitchell. The four-star product also made the trip to Happy Valley on Saturday.

Mitchell appears to be one of Penn State’s top defensive tackle targets in the 2023 cycle. He visited campus when he camped for the staff back in June and is name for fans to keep an eye on moving forward.

Jahsear Whittington was another noteworthy 2024 prospect on campus. The EDGE prospect attends Imhotep Charter in Philadelphia, the same school as former Nittany Lio rush man Shaka Toney and current 2022 linebacker commit Keon Wylie.

Whittington was offered by the Nittany Lions over the summer and already holds five FBS offers and four Power 5 offers. Whittington is certainly shaping up to be a name to watch in the 2024 cycle, and the Nittany Lions appear to be in a great spot very early on in his recruitment.