Six Penn State Signees To Enroll Early This Spring
Penn State inked 21 prospects from its touted 2018 recruiting class Wednesday to kick off the inaugural early signing period in style.
Only three-star Harrisburg athlete Shaquon Anderson-Butts has yet to fax in his letter of intent. The Nittany Lions also continue to heavily pursue Jayson Oweh, Rasheed Walker, and Solomon Enis ahead of the usual signing day on Feb. 7.
During his press conference at Beaver Stadium, James Franklin announced that Micah Parsons, Zack Kuntz, Jesse Luketa, Nick Tarburton, Trent Gordon, and Isaiah Humphries will enroll early for the spring semester.
“We’ve got six guys who should be here in a couple weeks,” Franklin said. “As you guys have seen, we’ve played freshmen. They’re going to have an opportunity to compete. I do think the chances and the likelihood increase obviously the longer that they’re here and in the system.”
Franklin said Parsons, the second-highest-rated recruit to ever sign with the Nittany Lions, will start his career at Mike linebacker rather than defensive end during spring practice. Only Derrick Williams was ranked above Parsons prior to arriving in State College.
Kuntz, who hails from Camp Hill, Pa., is an athletic freak in his own right. Franklin said the 6-foot-7, 215-pound tight end ran in the 4.6s while camping for the staff over the summer. The chance for him to put on weight this spring will be key.
“Kuntz I think is very similar in a lot of ways to [Mike] Gesicki — high school wide receiver, probably a little bit further along as a tight end than what Mike was,” Franklin said. “Him graduating early is really going to help. If he gets on the field, great, but he doesn’t have to get on the field as a freshman like Mike did.”
Penn State clearly feels good about its depth at the position despite Gesicki’s graduation. Jon Holland, Nick Bowers, and Danny Dalton all have multiple years of eligibility remaining. The Nittany Lions signed another four-star tight end this cycle in Pat Freiermuth, too.
Both Gordon and Humphries are Lone Star State standouts, providing an immediate boost to Penn State’s secondary. Humphries’ father, Leonard, was a defensive back for the Nittany Lions from 1989-91 before being selected in the eighth round of the 1992 NFL Draft.
“It’s always easier to go back to Texas when you’ve gotten two the previous year,” Franklin said. “For a long time, Penn State was doing a really good job of getting guys out of the south. For whatever reason, that went away for a number of years. For us to continue growing and evolving, we’re going to have to spread our wings a little bit.”
Luketa and Tarburton are ranked ninth and 11th, respectively, in America among 2018 inside linebackers, according to the 247Sports Composite. Penn State loses Jason Cabinda and Brandon Smith after this season, so defensive coordinator Brent Pry must be thrilled to have this hard-hitting duo arrive early to get a head start.
Having six players enroll for the spring semester also creates some flexibility on the recruiting trail, with Penn State being able to count back a few scholarship spots if need be.