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Probing the Portal: Penn State Offers Iowa Cornerback, UTEP Right Tackle (12.8.22)

More names!

Syndication: The Register Guard Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK

We’re now heading into Day 4 of transfer portal madness, and so far it’s been... pretty tame? Sure, there have been a lot of players entering the portal, but what we haven’t seen so far:

  • Not many truly shocking, unforeseen names.
  • Not many immediate commitments just minutes or hours after being in the portal.

It’s most been pretty standard to what we have seen the last couple years, with just a few more names than usual.

We should start to see some real movement here in a few days though as players begin to take official visits to schools. Penn State was actually confirmed as an official visit for Kent State wide receiver Dante Cephas this weekend, and I wouldn’t doubt that Cephas is the lone official visitor.

Anyway, since our last update on Tuesday, Penn State has gone out and offered two more prospects, bringing their confirmed public total to nine prospects now. As a reminder of who they offered previous to Wednesday:

  • WR Dante Cephas (Kent State)
  • WR Jimmy Horn Jr. (USF)
  • WR Dorian Singer (Arizona)
  • OT Ajani Cornelius (Rhode Island)
  • DT Braden Fiske (Western Michigan)
  • DT Elijah Jeudy (Texas A&M)
  • CB Khyree Jackson (Alabama)

As you’ll see below shortly, Penn State offered another offensive tackle and cornerback. Sensing a theme as far as positions go? Wide receiver, offensive tackle, defensive tackle, and cornerback seem to be the focus for the Nittany Lions.


OT Jeremiah Byers, 6-foot-4, 331 pounds (Redshirt Junior — UTEP)
Stats: 12 starts at right tackle
Hometown: Austin, TX

Penn State joined the race for the first-team All-Conference USA right tackle on Wednesday evening, joining the likes of Miami, Missouri, and Florida State. The latter of which, the Seminoles, will actually be hosting Byers for an official visit this weekend, so things are moving quickly for the former UTEP right tackle.

CB Terry Roberts, 5-foot-10, 182 pounds (Redshirt Senior — Iowa)
Stats: 13 tackles, 3 PDs, 1 INT (5 games)
Hometown: Erie, PA

In search of some cornerback depth, Penn State became the first Power Five team (Minnesota followed suit after) to offer former Iowa defensive back Terry Roberts on Wednesday afternoon. Roberts has largely battled injuries the last two seasons, having been limited to just 12 games and three starts during that period of time. When Roberts has been healthy though, he’s been a strong player for the Hawkeyes, especially as a gunner on special teams. One would imagine that should Roberts end up in Happy Valley, he’d continue to have a heavy special teams role.


WR Dont’e Thornton, 6-foot-5, 199 pounds (Redshirt Sophomore — Oregon)
Stats: 17 receptions, 366 yards, 21.5 YPC, 1 TD
Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Thornton will be a familiar name for those that follow recruiting, as he was a highly-touted prospect from Maryland that commitment to Penn State during the 2021 recruiting cycle. Unfortunately, he ended up decommitting from the Nittany Lions and ended up at Oregon. After two seasons with the Ducks, Thornton is back on the market, and while he isn’t publicizing any offers, it seems like Penn State is very interested:

(Kenny Sanders was on the Oregon recruiting staff when Thornton committed there.)

Thornton’s stats won’t blow anyone out of the water, but he’s only coming off his second season, he’s tall, he’s fast, and he would give this Penn State offense a much-needed and much-missed deep threat.

WR Arland Bruce IV, 5-foot-10, 198 pounds (Junior — Iowa)
Stats: 19 receptions, 187 yards, 9.8 YPC, 1 TD
Hometown: Olathe, KS

Bruce IV had 44 receptions over the last two seasons, which is quite productive for a Hawkeye wideout. As Charlie Jones proved this year with Purdue, just because a wide receiver has meager stats with Iowa does not mean he’s not talented. Could be a nice slot option.

WR Ali Jennings, 6-foot-2, 196 pounds (Senior — Old Dominion)
Stats: 54 receptions, 959 yards, 17.8 YPC, 9 TDs
Hometown: Richmond, VA

Jennings spent two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to Old Dominion before the 2021 season. Since then, he’s been extremely productive for Ricky Rahne and the Monarchs, but he’ll now (likely) try his luck back at a Power 5 program. He did camp at Penn State back in 2018, and given that he played for Rahne, it’s safe to say that Franklin will have plenty of intel here.

WR MJ Wright, 6-foot-0, 192 pounds (Senior — Fordham)
Stats: 61 receptions, 1,151 yards, 18.9 YPC, 11 TDs
Hometown: Freehold, NJ

WR Dequece Carter, 6-foot-0, 196 pounds (Senior — Fordham)
Stats: 56 receptions, 1,166 yards, 20.8 YPC, 13 TDs
Hometown: Louisa, VA

Combining the Fordham wide receivers just because they are pretty similar players, and they really benefitted from a Fordham offense that slung that ball around 499 times. We’ll see how things shake out, but they are probably more so Penn State targets if the Nittany Lions decide to take three wide receivers. It’s just a stacked wide receiver class.

OT Marcellus Marshall, 6-foot-5, 335 pounds (Junior — Kent State)
Stats: 12 starts at left tackle
Hometown: Morgantown, WV

OT Savion Washington, 6-foot-8, 322 pounds (Junior — Kent State)
Stats: 12 starts at right tackle
Hometown: Akron, OH

Sticking with combining players from the same program, both of Kent State’s starting offensive tackles are in the portal. Marshall is a bit more accomplished having just earned first-team All-MAC honors, but both are garnering major Power Five interest. Marshall has landed offers from Pitt, Minnesota, and Colorado, while Washington has offers from NC State, Oklahoma State, and BYU.

OT Gunner Britton, 6-foot-6, 305 pounds (Redshirt Senior — Western Kentucky)
Stats: 7 starts at left tackle, 6 starts at right tackle
Hometown: Conway, SC

Western Kentucky’s two starting offensive tackles ended up transferring to Power Five programs (Texas Tech and Ole Miss) last offseason, and it looks like Britton will follow in their path in short order. He already has visits set up to an ACC and SEC school in the coming weeks, but the second-team All-Conference USA player is certainly someone Penn State could get involved with.

CB Fentrell Cypress II, 6-foot-0, 184 pounds (Redshirt Junior — Virgina)
Stats: 39 tackles, 14 PDs (9 games)
Hometown: Rock Hill, SC

A second-team All-ACC selection in 2022, Cyrpress II is a two-year starter for the Cavaliers and rated as one of the very best players currently in the transfer portal. There was some Ohio State buzz early on him, but that has died down a bit the last few days. We’ll see where things go with him, and if Penn State gets more involved.

CB Tony Grimes, 6-foot-0, 195 pounds (Junior — North Carolina)
Stats: 39 tackles, 7 PDs
Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA

Originally a five-star prospect in the 2021 recruiting class, Grimes committed to UNC and reclassified to the 2020 class so he could play for the Tar Heels during the 2020 COVID season. Grimes never quite lived up to the hype, but that could be said for just about everyone involved with UNC’s dreadful defenses the last couple seasons. Now he’ll look for a fresh start with two seasons of eligibility remaining.

CB Jayden Bellamy, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds
Stats: Redshirted
Hometown: North Haledon, NJ

Bellamy nearly committed to Penn State last recruiting cycle, but ended up at Notre Dame instead. Now after an injury-plagued year in South Bend, Bellamy is headed elsewhere. Could Penn State make some sense? The Nittany Lions would like some extra cornerback depth, and given how much they liked him last year this time, I wouldn’t be shocked if Penn State came back around on Bellamy.