Stay updated as Penn State rises toward the top of the recruiting rankings! Don’t miss the coverage from Tyler Donohue, who brings a decade of experience as a national college football reporter and recruiting department staff member with a Big Ten program. Read his daily notebooks here at 7:20 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and follow us on Twitter for the latest Nittany Lions recruiting news.
Penn State leads the way with 6 commits in Land of 10’s in-state rankings
Here at Land of 10, we always aim to expand coverage for our loyal audience. That led us to begin a new monthly initiative in which we’ll focus on top 2018 prospects from each key state in Big Ten territory.
In my case, that means Pennsylvania.
Speaking on behalf of my colleagues, this is a monthly staple we’re excited about. My introduction to this industry included plenty of long days in the Rutgers University football facilities, cutting up prospects’ game film for Greg Schiano and other staff members. Now the process no longer requires VHS tapes or DVD players, and the fine folks at Hudl have really simplified the process.
For that, I am thankful.
The inaugural edition of our Pennsylvania top-20 rankings published Tuesday morning. It shouldn’t come as a surprise Penn State is doing quite well on home turf.
The Nittany Lions carry commitments from six prospects featured on the list, and that total may grow as we re-evaluate recruits during the season and potential pledges take place. Before we get down to details, below is glimpse at which college football programs are making the biggest impact among players we consider the “cream of the crop” entering their senior season.
- Penn State: 6 commits
- Notre Dame: 2
- Pittsburgh: 2
- Virginia Tech: 2
- Boston College: 1
- Florida: 1
- Michigan State: 1
- Ohio State: 1
- UCLA: 1
- Uncommitted: 3
Camp Hill High School tight end Zack Kuntz, listed No. 3 overall, leads the way for Penn State. He trails only former Nittany Lions defensive end pledge Micah Parsons (No. 1) and Notre Dame quarterback commit Phil Jurkovec (No. 2).
Linebacker Jesse Luketa, who transferred to Mercyhurst Prep (Erie) from Ottawa, Canada, early in high school, lands at No. 4. He and Kuntz are joined in the Penn State class by offensive lineman Fredrick Scruggs (No. 6), safety Isheem Young (No. 7) and linebacker Nick Tarburton (No. 8). No other football program carries more than one commitment from the top half of this collection.
Harrisburg receiver Shaquon Anderson-Butts is the sixth Penn State commit on our list and enters the season at No. 13. He is one of three top-20 prospects who will share the field Saturday when Harrisburg hosts Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia), joining Parsons and Young.
Be sure to explore our initial rankings and stay tuned for a mid-September update.
— Jesse Luketa (@OttawasVeryOwn) August 22, 2017
Rasheed Walker looks like last man standing among offensive line targets
Penn State is in excellent shape along the offensive line in the 2018 recruiting class, carrying four commitments from four different states. Nana Asiedu, Bryce Effner, Antwan Reed and Fredrick Scruggs form one of the most impressive groups of blockers this cycle.
Asiedu and Scruggs are considered top-10 prospects at their respective positions ― tackle and center ― in 247Sports’ composite rankings. Reed is also a 4-star recruit, while Effner gives the Nittany Lions college football’s only trio of top-50 offensive tackle commits.
Still, this foursome may not be a finished product.
Penn State identified 4-star tackle Rasheed Walker as a priority target early and recently welcomed him to campus multiple times. His latest trip to State College occurred July 15 when he attended Lasch Bash festivities alongside several Nittany Lions commits.
The 6-foot-6, 300-pound North Point (Waldorf, Md.) senior is listed No. 11 among tackles nationally. He sits just outside the top 100 overall, and another surge upward could lie ahead for him this autumn.
As spots in the class dwindled this summer, many asked whether there would be room for another offensive lineman. My answer all along is that Walker looks like a “take” all the way, while junior college prospect T.J. Bradley warranted close watch.
Those dynamics changed Saturday when Bradley committed to Maryland. The 6-9, 295-pound Lackawanna College (Pa.) tackle is 21 years old and hasn’t played a live football game since freshman year of high school.
I’ll save us a lot of time by telling you to check out this feature I wrote about Bradley this spring. A rare recruiting path and immense potential made him an extremely compelling figure on the Nittany Lions’ target board, but as the 2018 scholarship allotment shrunk I wondered whether a match would ultimately be possible.
Bradley found another home in the Big Ten. He’ll arrive at College Park in January with three years of eligibility, but he could bolt for the NFL after any one of them. Lackawanna coach Mark Duda compared him to former tackle pupil Bryant McKinnie, an eventual All-American at Miami and a top-10 NFL draft pick in 2002.
Aside from his rawness as a prospect, perhaps length of stay was a separating point for Penn State in comparing Bradley and Walker. The staff would be guaranteed at least three years with Walker, barring injury or transfer, while one solid season from Bradley could potentially result in his departure.
With Bradley now off the board, it appears to be Walker or bust for the Nittany Lions at offensive tackle. Other than the potential surprise flip of a prospect currently committed elsewhere, Penn State is probably content to wait it out with the U.S. Army All-American, who is hearing plenty from fellow Maryland product PJ Mustipher.
“That’s my guy from back home so I’ve been in his ear,” Mustipher told Land of 10 after his Aug. 7 commitment to Penn State. “I think I’m already annoying him on Twitter a little bit.”