Penn State has always been known as Linebacker U, but thanks to some recent success from Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, DaeSean Hamilton, and a bunch of top receiver prospects, Penn State may earn a new moniker for its wealth of targets.
The early signing period saw Penn State bring on 21 players to the class of 2018, including three wide receivers. The group is headlined by five-star prospect Justin Shorter. Four-star receivers Daniel George and Jahan Dotson also signed, while it’s believed that four-star commit Shaquon Anderson-Butts will sign his National Letter of Intent in February.
Legacy Solomon Enis, son of star running back Curtis Enis, is still weighing his options — despite being included in a Penn State signing day promotional video that featured players who have sent in their NLIs.
Shorter is the consensus number one wide receiver prospect in the nation, listed at 6’4″, 213 pounds and ran a 4.52 40-yard dash time. With the departures of veterans Hamilton and Saeed Blacknall, he will have the opportunity to compete for a starting position opposite of Juwan Johnson.
Dotson was originally committed to UCLA before flipping and signing with Penn State during the early signing period. Dotson is the 20th-ranked wide receiver and 134th overall in the ESPN 300. George is ranked the 48th-top wide receiver and Anderson-Butts is ranked 50th, according to ESPN.
Enis has a big connection to the school since his father was a star running back from 1995 through 1997 — earning All-American honors and eventually getting selected by the Chicago Bears with the fifth overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. The younger Enis is the 26th-ranked receiver in the nation and would bring a lot of size as he is listed at 6’4 191 pounds. Signing Enis will be tough in a battle against in-state schools Arizona and Arizona State, but it certainly helps that the Nittany Lions will be traveling to the desert for the Fiesta Bowl against Washington.
If Penn State is able to sign all five excellent athletes, Franklin may decide to look at transitioning one of the receivers to the defensive side of the ball. Anderson-Butts excelled as a defensive back in high school, and may be considered as one at the next level.
Penn State has plenty of young guys ready to step up with more playing time to complement returning starters Juwan Johnson and DeAndre Thompkins. Brandon Polk has also played well when given the opportunity, and redshirt freshmen KJ Hamler and Mac Hippenhammer could be propelled by their year of experience learning the system.