BSD’s recruiting staff sat down for a roundtable on each prospect Penn State signed in the 2024 class. Coming in at No. 22 was four-star DT T.A. Cunningham.
What makes you excited about TA Cunningham?
“The easy way out here would be to fawn over Cunningham’s physical tools. I’m taking the easy way out. The son of two basketball players, Cunningham is probably the most imposing defensive player in this class. He’s listed at 6-foot-5 and 285 pounds by Penn State, which nearly puts him into offensive lineman territory. He’ll have his work cut out for him if he wants to be a three-down lineman, but It’s very exciting thinking about the fear he could instill across the Big Ten if the chips fall in his favor.” --Ryan
What worries you about TA Cunningham?
“Four different high schools in four years and barely playing football the last two makes Cunningham a total crapshoot. The best “snapshot” we have of him was from his sophomore season, so a lot – good or bad – could have changed.
Strictly from an on-the-field perspective though, I do think Cunningham’s upside is a bit more limited than one would believe given his former five-star billing. He doesn’t project as much of a pass rush option, and will likely only be a 1st and 2nd down 1-Tech. That, of course, has value — see: Jordan Davis. But Cunningham will need to make some strides when it comes to pad level and leverage given his 6-foot-5 frame.” --Patrick
Do you think TA Cunningham will be redshirted next season? Around what point of his career do you think he pushes for meaningful playing time?
“Cunningham is a lock of all locks for a redshirt. Right now the staff is just taking a shot on a big athletic body and hoping they can coach him up. If he buys all the way in and takes the coaching well, it’s not insane that could see the field as soon as 2025.” --Clay
What do you think is the most realistic outcome for TA Cunningham: depth provider, rotational/one-year starter, multi-year starter, all-conference, or all-american?
Clay: Depth provider
Ryan: Rotational/one-year starter
Patrick: Depth provider, though he might have the greatest variance in the class.
Lastly, where do you have TA Cunningham ranked in Penn State’s class?
Clay: No. 22
Ryan: No. 19
Patrick: No. 23