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Probing The Portal: Official Visits Underway In Happy Valley

It’s the first *real* official visit weekend for James Franklin & Co.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 SDCCU Holiday Bowl Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

D-II Offensive Tackle, Former Top 100 Wide Receiver Prospect Set For Official Visit

Penn State is scheduled to (publicly) host two transfer portal targets this weekend: Shorter (D-II) offensive tackle Alan Herron and North Carolina wide receiver Andre Greene Jr.

Let’s start with Herron, who has a unique backstory given he was playing D-II football this past season. Herron is originally from Jamaica so he had a late start to his football career, but at 6-foot-6, 310 pounds, he has the requisite size that FBS schools covet. He entered the portal a few weeks back, and picked up some impressive offers — Clemson, Miami, Auburn, Louisville, Texas Tech, and a couple other Power 4 programs. He already took in a visit to Texas Tech, and will head to Clemson next weekend.

Greene Jr. on the other hand has had a bit of a different path, as he was a Top 100 recruit in the 2022 recruiting class. Penn State pushed for him hard back then, but he was pretty set on either North Carolina or Clemson, with the former winning out in the end. Things haven’t gone to plan for Greene though, as he put up just 5 receptions for 43 yards in two seasons at Chapel Hill.

Despite the lack of production, there’s still a talented prospect in there. He’s a really good athlete with good size (6-foot-2, 200 pounds), and at least on some level, Penn State thinks a breakthrough is there. We’ll see how this weekend goes.

Penn State Offers Three Pass Catchers

When we last probed the portal on Monday, Penn State had just one offer out to a wide receiver — North Texas’ Ja’Mori Maclin. Since then, the Nittany Lions have (publicly *cough cough*) offered three more:

  • Josh Kelly, Washington State
  • Donaven McCulley, Indiana
  • Jaylin Lucas, Indiana

We already highlighted Kelly and McCulley as names to know on Monday (not going to pat myself on the back but hey great job by me), but let’s discuss Lucas. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Lucas broke out as a true freshman at Indiana in 2022 as a kickoff specialist, returning two of his 22 kickoffs for touchdowns. He returned another for a touchdown this year, cementing his role as one of the more electrifying special teamers in the country.

The special teams role alone is impressive, but Lucas has served as a jack-of-all-trades during his two seasons with the Hoosiers, playing as a running back and slot receiver. At Penn State, I think the idea would be to use Lucas more as a receiver, though his versatility to line up all over the place will likely be something that new offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki utilizes.

12/9, 11 a.m. Update: Jaylin Lucas is visiting Penn State, per his IG story.

Standout Conference USA Wideout Off The Board

FIU’s Kris Mitchell was a named we mentioned on Monday, specifically because his brother is committed to Penn State as a high school prospect. Unfortunately, the elder Mitchell made the quick call for Notre Dame earlier this week.

Top ACC Receiver Enters Portal

Wake Forest wide receiver Jahmal Banks entered the portal, and on the surface he’d be one that would make sense for Penn State. Really good size at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds. Very productive for the Demon Deacons, finishing the 2023 season with 59 receptions (88 targets, no drops), 653 yards, and 4 TDs. Originally from Washington DC, played at St. Frances so I would gander he’s been to Penn State before a time or two. Had offers from every Ivy League school out of high school, and Wake Forest beat writers have been speaking highly of his character.

I mean, that’s a tailor-made transfer prospect for James Franklin, right?

Hey, What About Corners?

Outside of wide receiver, two cornerback names to potentially know are Texas A&M’s Tyreek Chappell and Bowling Green’s Jalen Huskey.

Chappell was coached by Deion Barnes in high school and was recruited by Penn State as well, but opted for Texas A&M where he was a three-year starter for the Aggies. With the Barnes connection, could certainly see Penn State getting involved again.

As for Huskey, he’s coming off a breakout sophomore season at Bowling Green where he earned first team All-MAC honors. Good listed size at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, though I imagine Penn State would want to get that verified. He was high school teammates with Chop Robinson as well, so again, probably some familiarity with the Nittany Lions coaching staff.