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Todd Smith, Penn State freshman DT Fred Hansard's high school coach, said that his pupil possesses "a rare combination of size, strength, speed and explosiveness."

"Combine those things with how physical he plays the game, and you have a kid that will be able to dominate the line of scrimmage at the next level," Smith said. Hansard had been committed to Florida as of late August, but changed his tune later in the cycle. The 6-foot-3, 314-pounder ranked as ESPN 300's No. 143 overall prospect in the 2017 class.
Feb 18 - 2:06 PM

Pro Football Focus analyst Josh Liskiewitz ranked Penn State junior RB Saquon Barkley as the No. 1 returning player in the Big Ten.

"He boasts the second-highest returning overall grade from 2016 running backs, the second-most yards, the second-most yards after contact and posted more touchdowns and forced missed tackles than any returning back," writes Liskiewitz, who notes that Barkley has caused 146 missed tackles in just two seasons with the Nittany Lions. During the past campaign, the 5-foot-11, 222-pound Barkley rushed for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also caught 28 passes for 404 yards and an additional four scores. Barkley has Heisman chops and should be in the running for a trip to New York for those festivities in 2017.
Feb 12 - 4:48 PM

Penn State received a verbal commitment from four-star 2018 LB Nick Tarburton.

Scout.com ranks Tarburton as the No. 1 inside linebacking prospect in the state of Pennsylvania for 2018. Maryland, Syracuse, Rutgers and Pitt were among the teams jostling for his pledge prior to him committing to Penn State. Scout's Brian Dohn notes that the 6-foot-4, 240-pounder's "size at the high school level is often overwhelming." The analyst believes Tarburton could potentially shift to defensive end down the road.
Source: Scout.com
Feb 10 - 7:12 PM

Penn State signed three-star 2017 G Michael Miranda.

While ESPN assigns Miranda with a four-star ranking and slots him into their 2017 master list at No. 277 overall, Rivals is somewhat more conservative in their view of the 6-foot-3, 303-pounder's collegiate prospects. The latter outlet does not rank him among their top 250 prospects in the just-wrapped class. They see him home as the No. 19 guard recruit in the country.
Source: Rivals
Feb 9 - 5:06 PM

Scout.com's Brian Dohn writes that Penn State three-star 2018 verbal LB commit Jesse Luketa's closing speed "jumps out."

"He runs well, has good burst and his ability to change directions allows him to succeed in space, but his ability to chase a play down and then close on the ball carrier is evident," Dohn explained. The analyst notes that the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder possesses "fantastic body control," with tackling being one of his already-developed plus-traits. He would like to see Luketa add a bit of bulk. Given that the Penn State pledge has yet to even enter his senior season at Mercyhurst Preparatory School (Pennsylvania), there is still plenty of time for him to pack on additional playing weight. Dohn believes he has the frame to do so without losing any of that vaunted quickness.
Source: Scout.com
Feb 5 - 4:59 PM

ESPN's Gerry Hamilton writes that Penn State four-star 2018 verbal RB commit Ricky Slade possesses "the ability to burst and then accelerate to daylight from out of nowhere."

"The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Slade possesses legit 4.48 40-yard dash time, and it carries over to the field with explosive burst and the ability to score from anywhere," Hamilton writes. Slade committed to the Nittany Lions late this past week. Even at this early stage of the game, Hamilton gives HC James Franklin and crew a 95% chance of holding onto the four-star stud. He believes that Virginia Tech could pose the biggest threat to sniping Slade's pledge, though "biggest threat" appears to be relative in this case.
Feb 5 - 2:12 PM

Penn State received a verbal commitment from three-star 2018 LB Jesse Luketa.

The Nittany Lions are a house on fire right now, in everything. They just finished up with Rivals' No. 12 recruiting class for the 2017 cycle and have moved seamlessly into potentially even bigger and better things with the 2018 class. Luketa ranks as Rivals' No. 30 linebacking prospect for 2018. They also picked up a pledge from four-star RB Ricky Slade on Friday. Eight of Penn State's 10 current commitments land on the ESPN Jr. 300.
Source: ESPN.com
Feb 4 - 7:15 PM

Penn State received a verbal commitment from four-star 2018 RB Ricky Slade.

The 2017 cycle has just been put to bed, leaving college programs to sharpen their recruiting knives for the 2018 class. Slade represents a major pledge for the Nittany Lions in the early going. The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder ranks as Rivals' No. 58 overall prospect in the 2018 cycle. Scout.com is even higher on his prospects, slotting him in at No. 16. That outlet's Michael Clark calls him "one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country." It should be noted that these early 2018 rankings are subject to potentially massive changes once the spring and summer camp circuit boots up.
Source: Scout.com
Feb 4 - 1:34 PM

Penn State signed four-star 2017 CB Donovan Johnson.

Johnson, Rivals' No. 224 overall prospect in the 2017 class, helped to buoy Penn State to a phenomenal top-15 recruiting haul. He is run-out-of-your-shoes fast, having recorded a 4.35-second 40-yard dash over the summer. The 5-foot-10, 176-pounder's height (or lack thereof) could cause problems against larger wideouts.
Feb 2 - 7:52 PM

Penn State signed four-star 2017 S Tariq Castro-Fields.

Scout.com's Brian Dohn wrote earlier this week that Maryland might be closing in on Castro-Fields, but the Upper Marlboro, Maryland, native has spurned his home state. In Dohn's opinion, the 6-foot-2, 173-pound safety prospect has shown the ability to handle smaller receivers, but will need to bulk up in order to truly be able to tango with larger wideouts.
Source: Scout.com
Feb 1 - 3:09 PM

Penn State signed three-star DT Corey Bolds.

Bolds spurned Rutgers in order to join the reigning Big Ten champs. He ranks as Scout.com's No. 3 defensive tackle in the state of New Jersey. Outlet analyst Brian Dohn writes that "[h]is speed in five steps is very good, but he needs to add some flexibility to help with his lateral quickness and his ability to chase plays down from behind." Dohn is complimentary of the 6-foot-3, 286-pounder's overall strength on power rushes.
Source: Scout.com
Feb 1 - 2:44 PM

Uncommitted four-star 2017 S Tariq Castro-Fields is deciding between Penn State and Maryland.

And the Terps might be close to shoring this one up, with Scout.com's Brian Dohn noting that "[s]taying home looks like more and more the option." In the case of Castro-Fields, home is Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The 6-foot-2, 173-pounder ranks as Scout's No. 283 overall prospect in the 2017 class. According to Dohn, Castro-Fields possesses "very good length and can jam receivers at the line of scrimmage, but he has to get stronger to be more effective against bigger receivers."
Source: Scout.com
Jan 31 - 4:09 PM

Penn State four-star 2017 verbal G commit C.J. Thorpe wrote on Twitter that he is "100% committed."

Michigan was hoping they could sway Thorpe, but he took to Twitter in late January to nix the possibility that he will jump from his long-standing commitment to the Nittany Lions. "There is no reason for me to lead on Michigan," the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder told Fight on State. ESPN 300 slots him into their master list at No. 76 overall, noting that Thorpe is a "mauler type offensive lineman with lots of upside." They view him as a potential left tackle or guard for Penn State, though the outlet does not believe he has the requisite quickness to make it work at right tackle.
Jan 30 - 7:33 PM

Penn State received a verbal commitment from four-star 2017 LB Ellis Brooks.

Well that really escalated quickly. Penn State hadn't even extended an offer to Ellis until just over a week ago. He visited Happy Valley in an official capacity this past weekend, then took the commitment plunge on Monday. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound linebacker ranks as Rivals' No. 201 overall prospect in the current cycle. After the Under Armour All-America Game, Rivals recruiting director Mike Farrell wrote that Ellis was "one of the better linebackers on either team in drills, in practice and in the game itself."
Jan 30 - 4:25 PM

Penn State redshirt junior DT Brenon Thrift has left the program.

Thrift initially entered the collegiate ranks as part of Temple's 2014 class, took a redshirt and then bounced down to the JUCO level for the 2015 season. The 6-foot-3, 290-pounder resurfaced with Penn State on National Signing Day last February. He did not see any game action with the Nittany Lions this past season.
Source: 247Sports
Jan 23 - 5:43 PM


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