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Penn State Football Continues Developing Strong Recruiting Base In Detroit & Midwest

Penn State football’s recruiting class of 2021 grew stronger Thursday night with four-star safety Jaylen Reed’s commitment. The junior prospect’s announcement is a sign of continued success for Tim Banks in recruiting defensive talent from Detroit and the midwest as a whole.

Banks arrived in Happy Valley in January 2016 as Penn State’s co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach. Since his arrival, the Nittany Lions have drawn in five defensive players who hail from his home state of Michigan. Three of those players reside in the secondary, including Penn State’s newest addition Reed, cornerback Donovan Johnson, and safety Enzo Jennings.

Banks even attended Martin Luther King High School, the same school as Reed’s, before playing cornerback at Central Michigan. The coach discussed his desire to dominate the state and the surrounding region in recruiting with the media on Thursday morning.

“I think proximity always plays a part. Anytime you’re recruiting, you’re not just recruiting a young man but also a family, and having an opportunity to stay close to home always plays an important role,” Banks said. “For me personally, even though I have this boyish look, I’ve been recruiting for a long time and made a lot of great relationships around the country — particularly in the midwest.”

Before joining James Franklin’s staff, Banks had made stops all around the Big Ten and the midwest. While he does self-admittedly look fairly young, the 48-year old has had plenty of experience regarding college football.

He graduated from Central Michigan in 1994 and worked his way up the coaching latter at Bowling Green in the late 90s. The Detroit native also coached at his alma mater, Cincinnati, Illinois, and several other programs before finally joining the Nittany Lions in 2016.

The safeties coach explained that he’s had a chance to make connections with coaches and players all around the midwest, something that he’s now using to his advantage.

“Relationships are everything,” Banks said. “I’ve had a chance to develop a lot of great ones, and ones that really bold well for me and [Penn State].”

While Reed is the first native of Michigan to join Penn State’s recruiting class of 2021, more seem to be on the way. Brothers Kalen and Kobe King are both rumored to be committing to Penn State in the near future. The two are both juniors at Cass Technical High School in Detroit (Donovan Johnson’s alma mater).

Kalen, a four-star cornerback, is scheduled to announce his commitment on Friday, April 10. Kobe is a three-star inside linebacker and announced on his Twitter that his decision will be “coming soon.” According to 247sports experts, the two are both heavily favored to commit to Franklin’s program.

Along with those two, Penn State is also heavily in the mix to earn commitments from Michigan offensive lineman Rocco Spindler and Garrett Dellinger, along with linebacker Jamari Buddin.

Recruiting is one of the many pieces of college football that is being heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the unprecedented challenges it presents, Banks is confident that he and his staff will be able to manage through it.

“I think recruiting in general still comes down to one ingredient, and that’s relationships,” Banks said. “We’re working really hard to stay connected. There’s a lot of technology out there that allows us to stay connected to these young men and their families. To be honest, the only thing that is really missing is the opportunity to get the guys on campus.”

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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