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Penn State Continues To Flex Its Recruiting Muscles In Virginia

Devyn Ford’s commitment to Penn State Friday afternoon continued the program’s supreme recruiting of Virginia under James Franklin.

Since Franklin was hired prior to the 2014 season, the Nittany Lions have signed 10 recruits from the talent-rich state, including record-setting quarterback Trace McSorley and incoming five-star running back Ricky Slade Jr.

Assuming Ford’s verbal sticks, Penn State will have landed one of America’s top three running back prospects in three out of the last four cycles. Slade and this year’s presumptive starter, junior Miles Sanders, round out the bunch.

Ford’s high school teammate at North Stafford, offensive tackle Nana Asiedu, signed with the Nittany Lions last December. He and fellow four-star Rasheed Walker are viewed as two of the most talented tackles to enroll at Penn State in quite some time, with both arriving in late June to begin their college careers.

Fredericksburg, VA, defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos was one of three Nittany Lions to see the field last fall as a true freshman and should provide solid depth at the position in 2018. Redshirt junior Garrett Taylor, a Richmond native, is likely to start alongside Fairfax product Nick Scott at safety.

McSorley can completely re-write Penn State’s record books as a senior.

Ellis Brooks and Jonathan Sutherland, who moved to Virginia from Canada, are firmly in the mix to contribute in some capacity as redshirt freshmen, while veteran receiver Brandon Polk has a solid chance of starting next to Juwan Johnson and DeAndre Thompkins.

Polk was high school teammates with McSorley at Briar Woods in Ashburn, VA, where the Washington Redskins have their practice facility.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Brailyn Franklin moved from Texas to Virginia to finish out his high school career. He could make an impact on special teams this season, but isn’t expected to crack the two-deep at Penn State’s most iconic position just yet.

Penn State’s recruiting efforts in Virginia show no signs of slowing down, with five-star linebacker Brandon Smith announcing his commitment Monday at 5 p.m. Smith, who also holds offers from Ohio State, Alabama, and many others, is considered a heavy Penn State lean heading into the decision.

Highly touted athlete Cam’Ron Kelly and three-star offensive guard Jakai Moore have shown significant interest in the Nittany Lions as well, hailing from Chesapeake and Nokesville, respectively.

In the 2020 cycle, Penn State is already pursuing Virginia standouts Chris Tyree, Antoine Sampah, and Nehki Meredith.

Franklin stayed plenty busy during Penn State’s annual spring scrimmage, which brought roughly 160 recruits to town.

Ford took his official visit to State College over Blue-White weekend, then waited a few weeks to think things through before ultimately picking the Nittany Lions over fellow finalist Virginia Tech.

Ford’s commitment not only signaled a huge win for Franklin over Justin Fuente on the recruiting trail, but it also provided a much-needed boost for Penn State’s small-but-growing 2019 class.

Three-star JUCO safety Jaquan Brisker committed to Penn State over Alabama, Pitt, and West Virginia Thursday just before midnight. With Brisker and Ford now in the fold, the Nittany Lions are up to five commitments – good for the 32nd overall class in college football.

Connecticut safety Tyler Rudolph is announcing his school of choice on the same day as Smith. It would be a surprise if both didn’t jump on board to really get the ball rolling for Franklin and his staff as they navigate their second year of the December early signing period.

Virginia is undoubtedly a top producer of talent for the Nittany Lions, and 2019 appears to be as strong of a year as ever in the growing relationship between these two parties. A Smith commitment Monday would give Penn State verbals from each of the top two prospects in the state.

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About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected]


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