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In-State Success Helps Penn State Football’s Class Of 2022 Get Off To Fast Start

Penn State football’s 2022 recruiting class is off to a blazing-hot start early on in the cycle.

After generally struggling with 2021’s class, James Franklin and his staff have bounced back in a huge way by already picking up eight commitments. All eight are four-star commits, helping the team already surpass 2021’s total of five recruits of the caliber.

According to 247Sports, the Nittany Lions currently own the second-best 2022 class in the country and trail only Ohio State. That’s rather noteworthy, considering Penn State’s Class of 2021 sits at No. 24. It’s still early in the cycle, however.

The Class of 2022 is currently headlined by pass-catchers, as five of the eight players being are a wideout or tight end. Harrisburg native Mehki Flowers, Ohio’s Kaden Saunders, and Lancaster native Anthony Ivey are the three wide receivers, while Jerry Cross and Holden Staes are the tight ends.

Both Flowers (No. 4) and Ivey (No. 8) are top-10 players in Pennsylvania, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

Flowers is the highest-graded player in Penn State’s class, with Saunders coming in just behind him at No. 2. Staes is ranked as the No. 6 tight end in the nation, while Cross is the fourth-best player from his home state of Wisconsin.

Offensive tackle Drew Shelton checks in as the third-highest ranked player in Penn State’s class. The 6’5″, 255-pounder hails from Downington, Pennsylvania, and is the fifth-best player in the state. He is considered the 13th-best offensive tackle in the entire class, as well as the 131st-best overall player.

Another Pennyslvania native, defensive end Ken Talley, is the lone defender in the class so far. Like Shelton, Talley is a top-10 player in Pennsylvania and sits at No. 7 in the state.

The last member of Penn State’s Class of 2022 so far is quarterback Beau Pribula. Pribula, you guessed it, is from Pennsylvania and is the ninth-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the country

A common trend early on is the number of players from Pennsylvania, which is something the Nittany Lions struggled within their Class of 2021. After garnering just one commitment from a top-10 in-state player in the 2021 class, Penn State has already added four in the Class of 2022.

Additionally, with five total in-state players in the 2022 class so far, James Franklin has surpassed 2021’s total of just four in-state players, proving that the struggles in the 2021 class may have been a fluke.

It doesn’t appear that Penn State is done, either, as the Nittany Lions are the favorites for four-star running back Nicholas Singleton (the No. 3 player in Pennsylvania). Also, the program is in contention for defensive end Enai White (the No. 1 player in Pennsylvania) and linebacker Abdul Carter (the No. 9 player in Pennsylvania).

While it’s certainly too early to celebrate, Penn State football’s fast start to its Class of 2022 is a reason for optimism moving on from a disappointing 2020 season.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a sophomore majoring in journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He grew up in Lindenhurst, NY and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his rants on all of his teams follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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