Penn State launched into overdrive in July, receiving pledges from nine players in two classes. The Lions have added two of the best running backs in the country, a forward from Pittsburgh and the rare prospect from Louisiana.
Penn State has also restarted its recruiting class of 2023 with the nation’s highest ranked indoor offensive lineman. And the Lions haven’t finished; they could add several more commitments before the end of the month.
So, before the next “quiet period” begins on July 28 and Penn State starts welcoming more visits, let’s recap the month.
Penn State clinches two of nation’s top running backs
July was huge for Penn State’s offensive future, as the program received commitments from two top 10 running backs nationally ranked by 247Sports. Pennsylvania Nicolas singleton announced his engagement on July 6, followed by the IMG Academy Kaytron allen 10 days later.
Singleton and Allen’s engagements are reminiscent of Penn State’s 2019 class which included Noah Cain and Devyn Ford. Singleton and Allen, like Cain and Ford, are part of the national elite, having run over 6,500 yards combined in high school.
Singleton averaged 15.8 yards per carry at Governor Mifflin High last season. Allen has averaged about 8 yards per carry over the past two seasons at IMG Academy, perhaps the most competitive program in the country.
Penn State is clearly selling its offensive plan to the backs. Head coach James Franklin and running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider focus on a rotating backfield while playing hot hand strategy. Getting the best backers to understand their role in an offense is tricky; the Lions coaching staff seem to navigate this approach expertly.
The talent of the defensive line joins the fold
Penn State addressed the future of its defensive line in July, receiving commitments from three key players: Kaleb Artis, Tyreese Fearbry and Zane Durant.
Artis extended Penn State’s recent string of talented defensive engagements. A 6-4, 290-pound lineman from St. Francis Prep in Queens, Artis is the second overall prospect in New York, according to 247Sports. Rivals ranks him as a 4-star prospect.
Artis chose Penn State from a long list of offerings that included Texas A&M, Auburn, Florida State, Texas, and Wisconsin, among others. He visited Penn State, Auburn and Virginia in June.
A 4-star prospect according to Rivals, Fearbry is one of Pennsylvania’s top players. The 6-5 defensive end bagged five sacks in the shortened 2020 Perry Traditional Academy season and is considered the No.1 rookie in the Pittsburgh City League, according to Triblive.
Fearbry also continued the strong Penn State recruiting drive for the 2022 cycle. The 247Sports recruiting site ranks Fearbry as Pennsylvania’s # 8 global prospect; four of the top eight are committed to Penn State.
Fearbry made official visits to Pitt, Kentucky, Auburn and Penn State in June and ranked those schools among his top four. Fearbry has also received offers from Syracuse, Missouri, Miami and South Carolina, among others.
Durant (6-1, 260 pounds) is a disruptive defensive end at Lake Nona High in Orlando, where he started since his first season. Last year, Durant made 15.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks, which drew praise from Nona Lake head coach Anthony Paradiso.
“Zane is the best player I have ever coached,” Paradiso told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “He’s a generational kid. From day one, his work ethic, his attitude, his preparation, his character set him apart.”
Three more talented Penn State pledges to watch
A trio of three-star prospects could have a significant impact with the Lions.
Jordan allen, a Louisiana defensive back, became Penn State’s last engagement on July 17. Allen at 5-11 and 175 pounds earned the nickname “Lockdown” at Lafayette Christian Academy for his exceptional covering skills.
In fact, Allen signed up to Penn State without a visit in June, in part because of his relationship with the coaches and their specific ground. In an interview with SI All-American’s Matt Ray, Allen called cornerback coach Terry Smith the key to his decision.
“He’s my guy,” Allen said of Smith. “He really made me feel like I was at home. He told me I was the number one guy on their board and I had to get in early and fight for a while. So , I was thinking about that stuff and the reaction I had of him when I first engaged with him, he was going crazy. He was so happy.
Offensive lineman JB Nelson kicked off the July Engagement Run, becoming the last Lion of Lackawanna College.
Nelson (6-6, 310 pounds) recently completed his freshman year at Lackawanna College. Mount. The Lebanon High graduate was considered one of the best offensive linemen in western Pennsylvania before joining Lackawanna College’s roster.
Nelson is the second Lackawanna player to enter Penn State’s 2022 class, joining safety Tyrece Mills, who announced his decision in May.
Keon wylie is looking to become the next great Penn State defensive player of the Philadelphia Imhotep charter, who is the alma mater of former defensive end Shaka Toney. Washington selected Toney in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Wylie (6-2, 220 pounds) chose Penn State over Kentucky and Pitt, among other schools. He was impressive in Imhotep’s five-game spring season, sacking five in one game against Northeast High. Wylie plays the defensive end for Imhotep and projects himself as an end linebacker or outside in college.
In an interview with CBS Sports HQ, Wylie credited Penn State graduate assistant Deion Barnes with making the big effort to recruit him. Wylie spoke with head coach James Franklin and other staff, but said he “connected very well” with Barnes, who had a significant impact on Penn State recruiting in Philadelphia. .
Virginia lineman reboots recruiting class of 2023
Alex Birchmeier, a 4-star prospect, according to Rivals and 247Sports, is a 6-5, 275-pound indoor lineman from Virginia who has the time and space to grow up. According to 247Sports, Birchmeier is the highest-ranked overall prospect in Virginia for the 2023 cycle, and also the country’s No.1 indoor lineman.
Birchmeier has received offers from over 30 schools, including Virginia and Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia and Auburn. He undoubtedly conquered Franklin with his wrestling skills. In sophomore, Birchmeier won the Virginia High School League Class 4 heavyweight wrestling title in February.
Birchmeier is currently the only player engaged in Penn State’s 2023 class.
The next big recruiting date to watch
Defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton, a 5-star prospect according to Rivals, has scheduled his announcement for July 22. The Maryland native is among the best players in his role nationally and has spent June on an enviable college football tour. He has visited Penn State, Alabama, and Georgia and holds offers from almost all of the top programs.
A commitment from Dennis-Sutton would serve as the centerpiece of Penn State’s strong 2022 class.
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