Outlining Potential Prospects For Penn State Football’s 2021 Recruiting Class
From losing out on top-tier Pennslyvania talent to fielding a lower number of recruits than expected, Penn State’s success on the recruiting trail has been hindered in comparison to recent cycles
Although its Class of 2021 lacks quantity up to this point in the cycle, it is highlighted by several consensus four-star players. Hailing from Olney, Maryland, Landon Tengwall is widely considered as one of the top offensive tackles in the nation, per 247Sports and Rivals. As the building block of the 2021 class, Tengwall has been committed since mid-March.
Tengwall’s commitment sparked a string of commitments in the following months for Penn State, but the Nittany Lions have yet to gain another pledge for the cycle since July. Despite the drought, several high-caliber prospects remain up for grabs before National Signing Day rolls around in December.
Below are a few prospects Penn State could have its eyes on moving forward this fall.
Derrick Davis Jr.
A long time Penn State target, Davis hails from Terry Smith’s alma mater of Gateway High School in Monroeville, Pa. The star two-way player for the Gators first earned a Penn State offer in December of 2017.
As a consensus top-five safety nationally, Davis is a can’t-miss prospect for the Nittany Lions who could immediately make an impact following the departure of Lamont Wade and Jaquan Brisker in 2021. Penn State has been the projected favorite since offering Davis, but Ohio State, Clemson, and LSU remain in the mix.
Penn State is attempting to expand its New Jersey pipeline with the addition of George Rooks to the Class of 2021. With 15 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in 2019, Rooks’ relentless effort could immediately turn heads across the country.
Rooks, a prototypical Big Ten defensive tackle, possesses the size and speed Penn State lacks on the defensive line for this cycle. According to 247Sports, Michigan and Penn State are the current favorites to earn Rook’s commitment.
As the son of eight-year Super Bowl champion tight end Darnell Dinkins, Khalil has the size and knowledge to become a skilled downfield threat in college.
With the lack of in-state commits in the class, the addition of Dinkins would bode well for James Franklin and his staff. Dinkins was high school teammates at North Allegheny High School in Wexford, Pa with current Nittany Lion cornerback, Joey Porter Jr. The addition of Dinkins would provide Tyler Bowen with yet another weapon in his loaded tight end room.
After losing Diego Pounds to North Carolina, Franklin and Phil Trautwein offered tackle Zen Michalski less than a week later. Michalski, who is a 6’6″ 288-pound specimen from Floyds Knobs, Indiana, decommited from Louisville one day after receiving an official offer from the Nittany Lions.
The addition of Michalski would be another valuable addition for Trautwein’s group and be Penn State’s second commit from the state of Indiana this time around.
Hargrove, a native of Ruston, Louisiana, fits the recent Penn State mold as an all-purpose running back who can also make an impact as a receiver. With 1,537 rushing yards coupled with 460 receiving yards in 2019, Hargrove’s versatility will provide Kirk Ciarocca with another blue-chip commodity on offense.
Despite Ja’Juan Seider’s recent success on the recruiting trail, Penn State does not have a running back committed for the 2021 cycle. Similarly to Caziah Holmes and Keyvone Lee, Seider continues to dive into SEC territory to pursue high-caliber backs for the Nittany Lions. Currently, Florida State appears to be the frontrunner for Hargrove, with Penn State closely in pursuit.
Despite Penn State’s recent recruiting struggles, the staff has found early success in the Class of 2022. Although Penn State’s Class of 2021 is currently ranked outside of the top 25, the latter cycle is rated within the top five, according to metrics used by 247Sports.
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About the Author
“To any current underclassmen reading this: learn the fight song, cheer loud, and tailgate early. You’re lucky to be a Nittany Lion.”
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