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Penn State legacy Keaton Ellis admits other programs face uphill battle
Earlier Monday, I wrote a report on Penn State 2019 target Keaton Ellis about his continued progression toward becoming a complete cornerback. Definitely check out that piece to gain a better understanding of the strides he’s made as a defender and see video highlights from State College High School’s season-opening win.
Ellis and I discussed several topics during a postgame conversation, ranging from his improved size — the 6-foot, 168-pound prospect has added 3 inches and nearly 15 pounds since sophomore year —to a compelling recruitment.
We’ll focus on the latter here, as I get the sense several Power 5 football programs will identify him as a target during his junior season. Ellis carries three scholarship offers: Buffalo, Penn State and Syracuse.
The Nittany Lions offered him June 16 after he clocked a personal-best 4.39-second 40-yard dash during camp action
“I wanted to go there, work hard, do the best I possibly could and earn that offer.” Ellis said.
It remains his most recent offer but, again, don’t expect this to remain the case much longer. Schools such as Houston, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Rutgers are among those showing increased interest.
He is eyeing a potential visit to South Bend, Ind., for a Fighting Irish game. Ellis also will be a frequent visitor to Beaver Stadium, which is located less than three miles from his current home field.
He attended the Nittany Lions’ win over Akron and predicted a 42-14 Penn State victory. (The Lions won 52-0.) Expect Ellis to be in the stands often this fall.
“If I’m not going somewhere else, I’m going to try to get to all the home games,” he said.
Ellis is the son of former Penn State receiver Bruce Ellis, who went on to work for the university. Prior to his recent retirement, he served as Penn State’s assistant athletic director for student-athlete services compliance.
“When I gave him that call about my offer, he was just ecstatic,” the younger Ellis said. “It’s his alma mater, so he loved it and he’s very happy and proud.”
He became the first State College High School player to receive a Penn State scholarship offer since 4-star receiver Alex Kenney, who signed with the Nittany Lions in 2010.
“It’s been a dream my whole life to play at Penn State, and to get the opportunity really hit home. It’s just a blessing,” Ellis said.
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) September 4, 2017
Another interesting wrinkle in this recruitment is he remains the only high school junior in Pennsylvania who holds an offer from James Franklin. The Nittany Lions have offered 62 recruits in the 2019 cycle but only Ellis on home turf.
“That’s pretty special,” he said. “It means a lot, and it shows Penn State trusts in me and believes in me.”
So what’s preventing Ellis from becoming the first member of Penn State’s 2019 class?
He aims to take a diligent approach rather than make an easy choice.
“Yes, it’s a great opportunity but just I want to have all these experiences so I’m making the right decision for sure,” Ellis said. “I’m trying to build my résumé. I think teams will like what they see so maybe some new opportunities will come.”
Still, he admits it would take a mighty effort to pry him away from his hometown.
“It’s going to be tough for other teams,” Ellis said. “They’re going to have to do a lot and show a lot of love.”
Penn State appears primed to eventually add this dynamic talent, but patience is required while Ellis embraces expanded attention from beyond Happy Valley.
5-star target Micah Parsons shuffles his official visit plans
Micah Parsons’ rollercoaster recruitment added another abrupt turn this past weekend. The 5-star edge rusher and former Penn State pledge explained a change to his official visit schedule during a discussion with Ed O’Brien of Scout.com.
Though Parsons initially planned to use an official visit to Ohio State for the Buckeyes’ Oct. 28 matchup against Penn State, this trip has been significantly bumped up. He now intends to spend this upcoming weekend in Columbus when Ohio State hosts Oklahoma.
Harrisburg (Pa.) High teammate and Nittany Lions commit Shaquon Anderson-Butts told Land of 10 he hoped to bring Parsons along to Beaver Stadium on Sept. 9. Anderson-Butts will attend Penn State’s game against Pittsburgh but Parsons will be on enemy Big Ten turf.
This development would free up the weekend of Oct. 28, though that doesn’t help the Nittany Lions chances since they’re on the road for a highly anticipated showdown with the Buckeyes. Parsons told Land of 10 on Aug. 16 he is considering an official visit to Penn State, though it would likely occur after this season.
Alabama and Nebraska are confirmed destinations on his official visit list, while Georgia, Florida State, Miami and Southern Cal are among other possibilities. Parsons is on track to enroll early, meaning a college decision will need to be finalized by the start of January.
He delivered another dominant performance Saturday during a 35-0 win over Bishop McDevitt. Parsons picked up a pair of sacks while rushing for 176 yards and 3 touchdowns on 20 carries, according to Eric Epler of Penn Live.
Top-ranked Nittany Lions WR target Julian Fleming stays hot
Moving from the No. 1 Pennsylvania prospect of the 2018 class to the top-ranked 2020 in-state recruit, receiver Julian Fleming secured a second straight 100-yard game to start his sophomore season.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Southern Columbia (Catawissa, Pa.) standout caught 3 passes for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns Friday night in a 49-0 pummeling of Bloomsburg. Fleming, considered the No. 1 receiver and No. 5 overall recruit in 247Sports 2020 rankings, now has 211 receiving yards (30.1 per catch) and 5 touchdowns through two games. And he wasn’t needed much in the second half of those games, considering the lopsided scores.
Fleming landed a Nittany Lions offer June 17, and he returned to campus for Lasch Bash festivities July 15. His plan is to attend multiple Penn State games if Southern Columbia’s schedule allows it. Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia are also in contention for in-season visits.
Through one full high school season and two sophomore games, Fleming’s production validates the early ranking hype. He already has 1,167 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns in his young varsity career.