Justin Shorter Prepares To Play In Familiar Surroundings At Rutgers

As Penn State heads to Piscataway for a matchup with Rutgers, many members of the team will make a homecoming of sorts when they take the field in the Garden State. 

Among those returning to their home state Saturday is true freshman Justin Shorter. Shorter attended South Brunswick High School — less than a a half-hour away from Piscataway — and received his first collegiate offer from the Scarlet Knights. It would’ve been a historic recruiting victory for Rutgers to keep him close to home. However, Penn State once again flexed its recruiting muscle in the state by nabbing Shorter out of Rutgers’ backyard.

The freshman is no stranger to taking the field in Piscataway. He led his high school to a Central Jersey Group Five State championship there last season, snagging a touchdown to go along with some other ridiculous catches.

After a dominant high school career, the five-star recruit came to Happy Valley with the expectations of many to make a day one impact. 

Unfortunately, his road since reaching Penn State in the summer hasn’t been the smoothest. During camp, he suffered an injury that delayed his progression by a few weeks. The injury led to an expected redshirt for the highly-touted prospect.

After being sidelined for most of the season, Shorter is finally healthy, and was back on the field against Wisconsin after not appearing in a game since Kent State. He hauled in his first reception during the second quarter, but has had further discussions with head coach James Franklin about his role on the team.

“[Shorter] wanted to meet with me about some things,” Franklin said. “He’s looking at his college experience very similar to his high school experience, where he started out maybe a little bit slow and worked himself into being one of the best receivers in the country, if not the best receiver in the country.”

In high school, Shorter was initially a four-star prospect outside of the overall top-100 player rankings. The late bloomer was bumped to a five-star and No. 1 receiver in the country right before his senior year following a dominant performance at “The Opening.” 

“I think you’re going to see a similar development with him here just because of his approach and his attitude,” Franklin added. “His mom and dad have been awesome. He’s been great. I think a lot of times, when you get these high-profile recruits like this, they don’t always handle this stuff well. Him and his family have been unbelievable. No different than the recruiting process.”

As Shorter prepares to take on his hometown school and former high school teammate Mohamed Jabbie, keep an eye on increased snaps for the true freshman. Shorter finally appears to be busting through, and what better day to break out than back in his home state?

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About the Author

Brian Bachman

Brian Bachman is a freshman in the school of communications and a contributor at Onward State. He is from northern Virginia but fell in love with Penn State a few years ago and knew after his first visit he wanted to come here. If you are a fan of the SUPER BOWL 52 CHAMPION PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (!!!) or sports in general, follow him on twitter @brianbachman_. Email is [email protected].

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