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Probing the Portal: Penn State Continues Push For Wide Receivers (12.14.22)

It’s all about the pass catchers.

NCAA Football: Kansas at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Last time we probed the portal, Penn State had sent out nine offers — three to wide receivers, two to offensive tackles, two to defensive tackles, and two to cornerbacks. Over the last week or so, it has become more pronounced where the focus on has been: wide receiver. Three more confirmed offers went to wide receivers in the last six days, while players like Donte’ Thornton and Kaden Prather very likely have offers too.

We’ll talk more about the wide receivers shortly, but before we get to those new offers, a couple news and notes on the previous offers sent out.

  • As a reminder, Penn State hosted former Kent State wide receiver Dante Cephas for an official visit this weekend. Thus far, he’s the lone transfer portal prospect who has visited Happy Valley.
  • For one reason or another, it doesn’t seem like Penn State has much traction with the defensive tackle offers: Braden Fiske (Western Michigan) and Elijah Jeudy (Texas A&M). Fiske visited Notre Dame and is now scheduled to head to Florida State this weekend, while Jeudy visited Nebraska and is scheduled to visit Wisconsin and Boston College in the coming days.
  • Ditto on the offensive tackles. It was always going to be a tough swing for Penn State with four players currently returning to the roster with starting experience at left or right tackle. Ajani Cornelius (Rhode Island) seems focused on Nebraska and Oregon, while Jeremiah Byers (UTEP) could be Florida State bound. Maybe Cornelius pops in for a visit this week given that he is local to the northeast?
  • Penn State’s not in the market for a starting QB (DREEEEEEEEEEW), but I would like to take a victory lap for Grayson McCall, who I thought should transfer to a Power Five school back in November 2020. Unfortunately for Grayson, myself, and Penn State, now just isn’t the right time. But man, what could have been.


WR Kaden Prather, 6-foot-4, 211 pounds (Junior — West Virginia)
Stats: 52 receptions, 501 yards, 9.6 YPC, 3 TDs
Hometown: Montgomery Village, MD

Although Prather isn’t publicizing his offers, it makes sense to start because Penn State is certainly going to go after the former West Virginia wide receiver hard. Originally a four-star prospect out of Maryland, Prather was a big-time target in the 2021 recruiting class. Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, he followed former Penn State wide receiver coach Gerard Parker to West Virginia were he was becoming the offensive coordinator. Things didn’t quite work out for Parker after the 2020 and 2021 seasons — he’s now at Notre Dame as the tight ends coach — so it’s not completely surprising to see Prather on the move either.

He just entered the portal on Monday afternoon so it’s early, but you can be sure that Penn State — along with a lot of other top-tier programs — will push for Prather.

WR Devontez Walker, 6-foot-3, 192 pounds (Junior — Kent State)
Stats: 58 receptions, 921 yards, 15.9 YPC, 11 TDs
Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Penn State offered one Kent State wide receiver in Dante Cephas already, but that didn’t stop them from making the move for another in Devontez Walker.

Walker has had an interesting journey. A low-three-star prospect out of Charlotte, North Carolina in the 2020 class, he signed with North Carolina Central coming out of high school before transferring to Kent State for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. With the Golden Flashes, Walker showed big play ability on the way to an first-team All-MAC season, highlighted with a dominant 7-reception, 106-yard performance against Georgia where he showed elite speed.

WR RaRa Thomas, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds (Junior — Mississippi State)
Stats: 44 receptions, 626 yards, 14.2 YPC, 7 TDs
Hometown: Eufaula, AL

Penn State went to one of the better wide receivers in the SEC, offering the former Mississippi State wideout last week. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much traction here as Thomas is likely to stay in the SEC. He visited Georgia last weekend, and is set to head to Ole Miss this coming weekend.

WR Cleveland “Tre” Harris, 6-foot-2, 204 pounds (Junior — Louisiana Tech)
Stats: 65 receptions, 935 yards, 14.4 YPC, 10 TDs
Hometown: Lafayette, LA

Another southern-based prospect, Harris has been extremely productive during his time at Louisiana Tech, hauling in 40 passes in 2021 and 65 this past season. Now, he’ll surely be making the move to a Power Five program with Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, and a few others offering. Like Thomas, this is one that is expected to stay south.

CB Gavin Holmes, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds (Junior — Wake Forest)
Stats: 24 tackles, 9 PDs
Hometown: New Orleans, LA

While wide receiver has been the major focus of the transfer portal, Penn State continues their search of a cornerback by offering Wake Forest’s Gavin Holmes. A rising junior, Holmes has seen time in 22 games between 2021 and 2022, with seven starts coming this season for the Demon Deacons. Right now, his lone (reported) visit is to Texas this weekend.

CB Darian “Duce” Chestnut, 6-foot-0, 198 pounds (Junior — Syracuse)
Stats: 40 tackles, 1 PD, 1 INT
Hometown: Camden, NJ

Although there isn’t an offer yet (Chestnut announced his decision to transfer on Tuesday evening), this is one I’d keep an eye on not only for a Penn State offer, but for some series interest too from the Nittany Lions. Chestnut checks a lot of the boxes that the Nittany Lions generally look for:

  • Previous relationship — Visited Penn State as a recruit back in 2019
  • Productivity — Two-year starter and was a Freshman All-American in 2021
  • Years Remaining — Not liking a one-and-done player being that he’s only headed into his third season

Just given the cornerback market being a bit more barren than some other positions, this feels like one Penn State would put some time and effort into.

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Previous installments of Probing the Portal: