Few teams in the country can match the recruiting momentum that Penn State has, as and more overall commitments (11) and four-star commitments (eight) than any other program.
Penn State is on a roll in coach James Franklin s first full recruiting cycle, which has fans buzzing and seeing a better-than-expected ascent through NCAA sanctions. Though it remains to be seen how many players Franklin can sign in the 2015 class, he s off to a fast start with every reason to believe the surge will continue.
Four-star prospects Steven Gonzalez, a talented guard from Union City (N.J.) High School, and Josh Barajas, a physical linebacker from Andrean (Ind.) High School, were the two most recent additions. In both cases, campus visits made a huge difference as the Nittany Lions were viewed as trailing other big-time programs for their services.
And while Penn State has proven that predictions can be a futile exercise in the recruiting process, Franklin has at least a firm foothold to land more of the region s top players. The Nittany Lions are favorites to land at least six more four-star recruits, according to their 247 Sports Crystal Ball predictions.
If all goes to plan for Franklin, he could end up with the top five players in the state and eight of the top nine, according to 247 Sports rankings. As it stands right now, Penn State has commitments from No. 3 Andre Robinson, No. 4 Ryan Bates, No. 8 Jake Cooper and No. 9 Saquon Barkley.
Here s a look at the six prospects that experts predict will land at Penn State, along with their Crystal Ball predictions and place among their respective state rankings.
Sterling Jenkins, OT, Baldwin HS: Jenkins is a mammoth 6-8, 305-pound tackle from Pittsburgh who checks in as high as No. 34 on the Rivals prospect rankings. He s rated as the No. 1 player in the state by Rivals and No. 2 by 247 Sports. While Jenkins was once considered a Michigan lean, 20 straight pundits and 70 percent overall have now predicted Jenkins will land at Penn State instead.
Jordan Whitehead, DB, Central Valley HS: Whitehead is still evaluating his options, which include Ohio State, Pitt and West Virginia, but there s growing sentiment that he will ultimately end up at Penn State. The No. 5 prospect in the state and No. 17 cornerback in the country according to 247 Sports composite rankings, Whitehead visited Happy Valley last weekend and left without a commitment. Nine of the last 11 experts have predicted that his pledge will ultimately come.
John Reid, DB, St. Joseph s HS: The recruiting battle for Reid might only be beginning after he left with a strong impression from a visit to Notre Dame last weekend. Reid has also picked up an offer from Alabama since attending Penn State s Junior Day on Feb. 15. The Fighting Irish are the program to watch after the recent visit, but the Nittany Lions are still in good position for 247 Sports No. 1 player in Pennsylvania.
Adam McLean, DT, Quince Orchard (Md.): McLean is racking up offers and views Michigan State highly, reportedly calling the Spartans the top school on his list. PSU is still a factor and has garnered 55 percent of the predictions compared to MSU s 14 percent in McLean s Crystal Ball. A 6-2, 290-pound prospect, McLean is the top-rated player in Maryland and No. 13 defensive tackle in the country, according to 247 Sports.
Brandon Wimbush, QB, St. Peters Prep (N.J.): For what it's worth, Wimbush s Twitter page has a heavy Penn State feel, particularly over the last week. The dual-threat quarterback simply said Another one?!! after the Nittany Lions latest commitment from Barajas. Wimbush is rated the No. 5 prospect in New Jersey and the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback in the country by Rivals.com. Penn State has now overtaken Ohio State as the favorite for Wimbush with 79 percent of his Crystal Ball predictions.
Josh Adams, RB/LB, Central Bucks South: Adams has been a Penn State lean since early in his recruitment despite the presence of offers from Notre Dame and Stanford, among others. The No. 6 prospect in the state according to 247 Sports composite rankings, Adams is listed as a running back but could play linebacker if he lands in Happy Valley. A knee injury suffered during his junior season might have slowed his recruitment, but Adams still holds eight offers and speaks highly of Notre Dame. Things could begin to change, but the Nittany Lions own 100 percent of Adams Crystal Ball predictions.
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