As Penn State’s season begins to wind down, so do the football seasons for high school players across the country.
While some recruits may be focusing on early enrolling or thinking ahead to their senior campaigns, others are still keeping their playoff runs alive. The current Nittany Lions aren’t doing much to inspire confidence, so we might as well look ahead to the future.
First, let’s show some love to the first quarterback to join Penn State’s Class of 2025: Bekkem Kritza. Kritza is a three-star prospect from Boulder, Colorado, and is an intriguing recruit thanks to his 6-foot-5 frame.
3-star QB Bekkem Kritza has announced his commitment to Penn State— Micheal Bolger (@MichealBolger) November 15, 2023
The 6-5, 185 lb Colorado native is the first quarterback and sixth commit in the Nittany Lions 2025 class
Kritza ranks No. 33 among quarterbacks and No. 1 in Colorado pic.twitter.com/wTk2s6X2ww
As you can tell from his highlight reel, Kritza has a cannon, especially for a guy who weighs just 185 pounds. He is obviously young and will have plenty of time to grow into his height, but it’s no surprise that he’s gained the moniker “slim reaper” from some of his buddies.
Kritza finished his junior year with 1,747 yards at a 65.5% clip — good for 20 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
In a playoff win over Latrobe, Aliquippa’s Tiqwai Hayes surpassed 5,000 career rushing yards. He is a junior. The in-state product had 136 rushing yards and a score in the game, averaging 7.6 yards per carry in the 37-29 win.
Season stats are not in yet, but Hayes amassed 2,011 yards and 33 touchdowns last year as a sophomore and 1,720 yards and 23 touchdowns the year before as a freshman.
Class of 2024 quarterback Ethan Grunkemeyer’s high school career is officially over as Grunk’s Olentangy Braves fell in their regional semifinals to Springfield. Still, the Ohio gunslinger put on a show in the loss and garnered national attention from 247Sports recruiting analysts.
Grunk with the to Grover for 6— Olentangy Braves FB (@OHSBravesFB) November 11, 2023
Braves 7 Springfield 3 pic.twitter.com/WACyBD5icq
Leading up to this final game, Grunkemeyer threw for 3,183 yards and 37 touchdowns with eight interceptions on the season. He is now set to early enroll at Penn State in January.
Class of 2024 four-star edge rusher Jaylen Harvey had a health scare in Quince Orchard’s season-ending playoff loss. A stretcher came out for the Maryland prospect, but he Tweeted the next morning that tests came back negative.
Prayers for Jaylen Harvey, as he’s taken off the field on a stretcher. Both sidelines are on their knees. You can barely hear a whisper in the Cougar Dome. The MVP of the 4A title game last year, Penn State commit. As if it couldn’t get worse for the Cougars and their fans. Wow. pic.twitter.com/bST1cSk5zY— themamba (@aka_themamba) November 11, 2023