[Live Blog] Early Signing Period 2020
It’s well and truly #WeAre…Better szn, folks.
College football’s 2020 early signing period is underway, and James Franklin and his coaching staff will officially welcome the vast majority of its 2020 recruiting class to Penn State football over the course of the next three days. According to 247Sports, 27 players from across the country are currently committed to join the Nittany Lions, whose current incoming class ranks third in the Big Ten and 12th in the nation.
Franklin himself will address the media at approximately 3 p.m. to discuss his program’s newest players. We’ll update this post throughout the next few days as Penn State’s crop of recruits officially joins the team, and we’ll also cover any other developments that emerge at this critical juncture in the 2020 recruiting cycle.
7:30 a.m.: Penn State has officially welcomed its first signing of the 2020 recruiting class: three-star offensive lineman Olu Fashanu.
Fashanu played his high school ball at Gonzaga (no, not that Gonzaga) in his hometown of Washington, DC. He helped the team put up a 9-3 record in 2018 — the year it won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference — by being named a USA Today DC football second-teamer. The tackle committed to Penn State over Alabama, Florida, and Boston College, among others.
247Sports rates him as the fifth-best prospect from Washington, DC in this recruiting cycle.
7:35 a.m.: One of James Franklin’s biggest victories on the recruiting trail this cycle is now official. Four-star tight end Theo Johnson has signed his letter of intent with the Nittany Lions.
Johnson’s recruitment wasn’t necessarily a whirlwind, but he did delay his commitment decision until December 9. He’s the top player from Canada in the 2020 recruiting cycle and the third-best tight end recruit in North America, according to 247Sports.
Penn State has enjoyed the luxury of excellent tight end play over the past few years thanks to Mike Gesicki and Pat Freiermuth — who actually announced Johnson’s signing at the Nittany Lions’ official signing day event. Johnson, who picked the Nittany Lions over a host of big-name offers from Michigan, Georgia, and Iowa, among others, seems poised to carry on the team’s excellent tight end legacy.
7:43 a.m.: Speaking of tight ends… three-star prospect Tyler Warren has put pen to paper on his letter of intent with Penn State.
Warren hails from Mechanicsville, Virginia, and he played his high school ball at Atlee High School in his hometown. On top of his obvious football prowess, the newest Nittany Lion also played basketball and baseball in high school. He’s listed as an athlete by 247Sports, but Penn State has him chalked down as a tight end.
In addition to fellow 2020 recruit Theo Johnson, Warren will join a loaded position group headed by Pat Freiermuth and featuring depth options like Zack Kuntz and Brenton Strange. He committed to Penn State on July 3.
7:50 a.m.: Linebacker U has its first addition of the day in the form of four-star prospect Zuriah Fisher.
Fisher can play both the defensive end and linebacker positions, but Penn State lists him as the latter in his introduction to the program. The Alquippa High School product made his verbal pledge to James Franklin’s program on September 16, and he put up 115 tackles throughout his four-year high school football career.
The defender helped his high school post a 14-1 record and win the WPIAL and PIAA championships as a junior. 247Sports rates Fisher as the third-best player from Pennsylvania and a top-20 linebacker in the 2020 recruiting cycle.
7:53 a.m.: Four-star running back Caziah Holmes is ~officially~ a Penn State football player after the ink dried on his NLI.
Holmes, who picked the Nittany Lions over Kentucky, Tennessee, and Auburn, among others, represents Ja’Juan Seider’s latest victory on the recruiting trail in the Sunshine State. The Cocoa, Florida product joins fellow blue-chip prospects John Dunmore an Noah Cain as Floridians who made the trek from the southeast to Happy Valley.
Seider was brought in explicitly to recruit players from Florida, and his latest win could turn out to be a gem. Holmes accumulated 1,472 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on just 180 carries as a senior, and he holds the program’s record with a 99-yard touchdown.
8:01 a.m.: Sean Spencer just got a new Wild Dog to work with. Four-star defensive tackle Cole Brevard is officially a Nittany Lion.
Brevard is rated by 247Sports as one of the better prospects in the Nittany Lions’ 2020 recruiting class. He hails from Carmel, Indiana, and his list of offers included Clemson, Florida State, and Indiana, among others. Despite those offers, Brevard made his decision to be a Nittany Lion during the Nittany Lions’ Blue-White game on April 13, and he stuck with it until the ink dried on his letter of intent.
The newest Wild Dog helped his high school side win the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s Class 6A title and an 11-3 record in 2019. He made 46 tackles — 3.5 of which resulted in a loss of yardage — throughout the season.
8:10 a.m.: Three-star defensive tackle Fatorma Mulbah is set to stay in his home state and join Penn State football.
Mulbah is the pride of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and he put up 51 tackles and 12 sacks in his senior year with Susquehanna Township High School. He’s rated as the sixth-best prospect in the Keystone State by 247Sports, and he committed to Penn State on June 22 of this year.
For those of you keeping track at home, that’s now two Wild Dogs officially signed on in Penn State’s 2020 recruiting class. Mulbah also had offers from Ohio State, Maryland, and Rutgers, among others.
8:18 a.m.: Another Pennsylvania product has put pen to paper on his national letter of intent. This time, it’s three-star linebacker Tyler Elsdon‘s turn to officially become a Nittany Lion.
Elsdon plays his high school ball at North Schuylkill High School in Ashland, Pennsylvania. He initially made his verbal pledge to James Franklin’s program on June 25, picking the Nittany Lions over Virginia, Vanderbilt, and Buffalo, among others, as the fifth-best Pennsylvanian prospect available in the 2020 recruiting cycle.
North Schuylkill won back-to-back Schuylkill League titles in Elsdon’s junior and senior years, and Elsdon was a team captain as a senior. He also helped his high school win the District 11 title in 2018 while winning all-Schuylkill honors in his sophomore and junior years.
8:23 a.m.: Three-star offensive tackle Jimmy Christ has officially joined James Franklin’s program.
They say you can’t teach size, but Christ has this in spades at 6’7″ and 295 pounds. The Dominion High School product from Sterling, Virginia is one of several prospects from the DMV who will join the Nittany Lions in this recruiting cycle, and he’s the seventh-best player from his home state, per 247Sports.
Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Appalachian State were among the other schools to extend offers to Christ, and he committed to the Nittany Lions on November 8. He was in Happy Valley to see Penn State beat Indiana 34-27 a little more than a week after flipping from Virginia to commit to James Franklin’s program.
8:34 a.m.: Suffield, Connecticut’s Jaden Dottin is the newest member of the #107kStrong family after the ink dried on his NLI.
The four-star wide receiver committed to Penn State on June 21, and he was a much-needed victory at wide receiver following five-star prospect Julian Fleming’s commitment to Ohio State on May 31. Dottin, who’s rated by 247Sports as Connecticut’s third-best player in the 2020 cycle, hauled in 25 balls for 468 yards and five scores in his senior year with Suffield Academy.
As a junior, Dottin made 29 grabs for 593 yards and six touchdowns, and he also totaled eight interceptions while playing on the other side of the ball throughout his junior and senior years. At 6’3″, Penn State’s newest commit has the potential to become a deep-ball difference maker for the Nittany Lions.
8:45 a.m.: Three-star offensive guard Golden Israel-Achumba has officially been welcomed to Penn State football.
Israel-Achumba earned four letters while playing for DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland — a familiar pipeline for the Nittany Lions. Many thought he’d join the hometown Terrapins to kick off his college career, but he ultimately stuck to his Penn State commitment that he made on April 2.
Somebody’s going to have to give Israel-Achumba some maple syrup when he gets on campus, because he sure likes his pancakes. The 17th-best player from Maryland in this cycle made 38 pancake blocks as a junior and senior, and he also put up 30 tackles in his sophomore year while playing on the other side of the ball.
8:53 a.m.: Enzo Jennings — one of the crown jewels of Penn State football’s 2020 recruiting class — is officially a Nittany Lion.
Jennings is the second-best prospect in the team’s recruiting class of 2020, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. The 6’1″ safety from Oak Park High School in Michigan picked the Nittany Lions on June 27. As it turns out, he stuck with his verbal pledge until the ink dried on his national letter of intent.
Penn State’s newest safety was a three-year captain at Oak Park High School. He’s rated by 247Sports as the 12th-best safety and the third-best Michigan prospect in the 2020 recruiting cycle.
9:04 a.m.: Penn State football’s first JuCo transfer of the day is now a Nittany Lion. Wide receiver Norval Black‘s national letter of intent is officially official.
Black is the most recent of many prospects who have made the transition from Lackawanna County Community College to join Penn State. He originally hails from Germantown, Maryland, and the three-star wideout served as a team captain in Lackawanna last season.
He hauled in 22 passes for 570 yards and seven touchdowns after scoring five times and totaling 445 receiving yards on 15 grabs in his freshman year with Lackawanna. He’s the fifth-best JuCo transfer wide receiver available in the 2020 recruiting cycle.
9:25 a.m.: Boy, howdy: Four-star wide receiver and Richmond, Texas native Parker Washington is the newest member of Penn State football.
Washington initially committed to James Franklin’s program on July 2 as a three-star prospect, but 247Sports has since bumped his composite rating up to .9030 — good enough to give him four-star status. He picked the Nittany Lions over offers from Wisconsin, Boston College, and Georgia Tech, among others.
As a senior, Washington hauled in 49 passes for 829 yards and 14 scores. He found the end zone 21 times as a junior on 75 grabs for a whopping 1,486 yards. He earned first team All-State honors from the Associated Press as a junior in high school, and he’s rated by 247Sports as one of the nation’s top 50 wide receiver prospects.
9:42 a.m.: Four-star prospect Curtis Jacobs is the newest member of Linebacker U, and he’s definitely a good one.
The blue-chip prospect served as a captain for McDonogh High School’s football team for two years, and he was selected to play in the prestigious Under Armour All-American game. He’s rated as the fifth-best outside linebacker prospect in the country, the fourth-best player from his home state in Maryland, and the top recruit in Penn State’s 2020 class by 247Sports.
Jacobs is the latest blue-chipper to join Linebacker U along with the likes of Brandon Smith and Lance Dixon — the two crown jewels of Penn State’s 2019 recruiting class.
9:49 a.m.: Nick Dawkins — a three-star offensive lineman from Allentown, Pennsylvania — is the 15th official member of Penn State’s 2020 recruiting class.
If Dawkins’ name seems familiar, that’s because he’s the son of former NBA big man Darryl Dawkins. On top of that very obvious basketball connection, his cousin is Karl-Anthony Towns — a current NBA big man who’s a superstar for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
He committed to Penn State on April 22, and he served as captain of Parkland High School’s football team as a senior. Parkland posted a combined record of 23-5 during Dawkins’ freshman and sophomore years. The newest Nittany Lion is rated as the eighth-best prospect from Pennsylvania in the 2020 recruiting cycle.
10:16 a.m.: Micah Bowens became the first quarterback to ~officially~ join Penn State’s 2020 recruiting class.
The three-star prospect from Las Vegas initially made his verbal pledge to play for James Franklin on February 19, and he’s the second west-coast based quarterback to join the Nittany Lions in as many years. Oregon native Michael Johnson Jr. joined the team last year and will be a redshirt freshman in 2020.
Bowens had offers from schools closer to his home town — including Arizona and BYU, among others — but he picked a school out east after leading Bishop Gorman High School to two state titles during his high school career.
10:22 a.m.: Penn State has officially added its first cornerback to its 2020 recruiting class with Joseph Johnson’s signing.
Johnson is ranked as a three-star prospect and hails from Colonial Heights, Virginia. He was originally committed to NC State, but eventually decommitted and joined James Franklin’s program back on July 2. The cornerback also received offers from Ohio State, Pitt, and Texas A&M, among others.
The Virginia native is currently ranked as the 10th-best player from his home state and the 32nd-best cornerback in the nation. Johnson also comes in at 6’3″ and 180 pounds.
10:33 a.m.: Sean Spencer just got another Wild Dog to take under his wing, as Amin Vanover made his commitment to Penn State official.
Vanover is the third defensive lineman to sign his NLI to become a Nittany Lion Wednesday, as defensive tackles Cole Brevard and Fatorma Mulbah have both put pen to paper.
The New Jersey native is one of the top strong-side defensive end prospects in the nation, as he is currently ranked the 18th-best player at that position. The three-star recruit also currently sits as the 12th-best prospect from his home state of New Jersey.
Vanover verbally committed to Penn State on June 28 over other programs such as Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia, among others. The 6’4″ 240-pound defensive end is the third of five defensive lineman expected to sign to the Nittany Lions Wednesday.
10:43 a.m.: Welcome to Happy Valley, KeAndre Lambert.
Lambert joins an already talented group of wide receivers, as three pass-catchers have signed their NLI’s Wednesday, two of them four-star prospects as well.
The four-star wide receiver out of Norfolk, Virginia is a currently ranked as the third-best player in his home state and the No. 31 wide receiver in the nation. After rumors of a possible Virginia Tech lean, Lambert committed to James Franklin’s program on October 4.
Lambert will add plenty of athleticism to Gerard Parker’s wide receiver group, as he runs 4.50 40-yard dash and comes in at 6’1″ and 172 pounds.
10:55 a.m.: Bryce Mostella has officially joined Sean Spencer’s group of Wild Dogs.
Mostella verbally committed to the Nittany Lions on July 5 with an ~interesting~ announcement video. He’s ranked as the 18th-best player from his home state of Michigan and the 26th-best weak-side defensive end in the nation.
The defensive end committed to Penn State over Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa, among others.
11:02 a.m.: Keyvone Lee is officially one of the #LawnBoyz, folks.
Lee is the second running back from the Sunshine State to sign to James Franklin’s program Wednesday, as Caziah Holmes signed his NLI a few hours earlier. The four-star prospect is the 46th-best player from his home state of Florida and the 20th-best running back in the country.
Lee verbally committed to Penn State on August 26, and he’s set to join an already-talented group of Nittany Lion running backs.
11:28 a.m.: The Nittany Lions just locked down another talented offensive lineman in Ibrahim Traore.
The three-star prospect out of New York City verbally committed to James Franklin’s program on September 13 over Indiana, Miami, and Ole Miss. He’s ranked as the seventh-best player from his home state and the 64th-best offensive tackle in the country.
Traore is the fifth offensive lineman to sign his NLI to the Nittany Lions Wednesday, as Nick Dawkins, Golden Israel-Achumba, Olu Fashanu, and Jimmy Christ all signed earlier this morning.
11:44 a.m.: Another signee, another Wild Dog for Sean Spencer.
Brandon Taylor signed his NLI to officially become a Nittany Lion on Wednesday morning. The three-star prospect is ranked as the 25th-best defensive end in the nation and the 17th-best player from his home state of Ohio. He verbally committed to the Nittany Lions on June 28 over Michigan, Michigan State, and Kentucky, among others.
Taylor is the fifth defensive lineman to sign his NLI to join Penn State’s 2020 recruiting class.
12:00 p.m.: Malick Meiga has become the fifth wide receiver to sign to Penn State’s 2020 recruiting class.
Meiga is the second Canadian to join the Nittany Lions on Wednesday, as top tight end recruit Theo Johnson signed his NLI just a few hours earlier. He’s the top ranked player from his home province of Quebec, and he’s also ranked as the 98th-best wide receiver recruit overall.
The 6’3″, 188-pound wide receiver verbally committed to the Nittany Lions on August 1 over Louisville, Cincinnati, and Buffalo, among others. He now joins an impressive crop of wide receivers in this recruiting cycle, including a total of three four-star recruits at the position.
12:20 p.m.: Penn State’s secondary added more talent with Ji’Ayir Brown‘s NLI signing on Wednesday.
The three-star safety is another product out of Lackawanna Community College along with wide receiver Norval Black. Brown joins Enzo Jennings as the only two safeties to join Penn State’s 2020 recruiting class.
Brown helped lead Lackawanna to a perfect 11-0 record in 2018 during his freshman season, which he finished with 40 total tackles, five interceptions, and three pass breakups. He joins fellow safety Jaquan Brisker as another transfer from Lackawnna Community College along with offensive tackle Anthony Whigan.
12:28 p.m.: Penn State now has six Wild Dogs in its 2020 recruiting class, as Coziah Izzard has signed his national letter of intent.
Izzard was considered one of the more high-profile prospects in this recruiting cycle for Penn State. He’s ranked as the 11th-best player from his home state of Maryland and the 24th-best strong-side defensive end in the country. The 6’3″, 281-pound defensive lineman committed to James Franklin’s program on June 22 over the likes of Alabama, Virginia Tech, and Maryland, among others.
With Izzard’s signing, the Nittany Lions now officially have three four-star defensive linemen joining their recruiting class of 2020. All 27 of Penn State’s verbal commits to this recruiting cycle have now signed their NLIs.
2:45 p.m.: James Franklin is currently speaking to the media at his signing day press conference, and his comments indicate that this year’s Early Signing Day period went swimmingly for his program.
“For the most part, the guys who were supposed to sign have signed. That leads to higher production and low maintenance for our team,” Franklin said. “We had almost all of the paperwork in by like 7:45 this morning. At that point, we were kind of waiting to do the FaceTime calls and things like that.
“We were able to sign a complete class. We like to sign a player at each position so we don’t get out of whack with scholarship counts. I’ve been scarred by O-line and D-line depth in the past, so we’ve continued to make that a focus.”
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