Eleven Penn State Signees To Enroll Early

Eleven members of Penn State’s 2019 recruiting class will enroll this spring and participate in their first practices with the program.

Five-star linebacker Brandon Smith, the headliner of James Franklin’s fifth full recruiting class at Penn State, is among the nearly one dozen prospects who will get a head start on their college careers. Last year, six incoming freshmen were able to take that route.

Recent four-star commitments Adisa Isaac and Noah Cain will both graduate from high school shortly and immerse themselves in Penn State’s strength and conditioning program when classes start back up.

West Bloomfield, Michigan, outside linebacker Lance Dixon will join them on campus this January in hopes of making an early impact for the Nittany Lions next fall. Defensive backs Keaton Ellis, Tyler Rudolph, and Marquis Wilson will also arrive in the coming weeks, as will quarterbacks Taquan Roberson and Michael Johnson Jr.

Anthony Whigan, a four-star offensive tackle from Lackawanna College, will begin adding weight to his frame this spring as he prepares to compete for a job in training camp. If Ryan Bates declares for the 2019 NFL draft after the Citrus Bowl, Whigan could be in the mix to start opposite Will Fries. 

Brenton Strange is one of the more impressive athletes at the tight end position in the 2019 recruiting class, but the 6-foot-5, 214-pound West Virginia native will need to bulk up after mainly playing wide receiver in high school. Pat Freiermuth’s breakout season and the bevy of backup options at the position almost certainly means Strange will redshirt his first year on campus.

The Nittany Lions received national letters of intent from all 18 of their currently committed prospects during Wednesday’s early signing period. Franklin and the rest of his staff will continue adding talent before the traditional signing day on February 6, but now they have the luxury of zeroing in on their top remaining targets without distraction.

“I thought we had a good day,” Franklin said. “The way our recruiting operation is built, we really don’t want drama.”

As more and more recruits elect to begin their college careers early, Penn State has put itself in excellent position to capitalize on said trend and continue flexing its recruiting muscles in the loaded Big Ten East.

“It’s all relative to the prospect themselves and their family,” director of player personnel Andy Frank said. “From a national perspective, it’s becoming more popular and becoming more desired by kids.”

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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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