Penn State’s Class Of 2022 Recruits Impress In All-American Bowl
Four members of Penn State football’s highly ranked 2022 recruiting class made strong contributions to their respective teams in Saturday afternoon’s All-American Bowl.
For the East team, quarterback Drew Allar, running back Nicholas Singleton, defensive lineman Dani Dennis-Sutton, and linebacker Keon Wylie all served as starters at their respective positions. Although their team lost 34-14 to the West, the four future Nittany Lions impressed in front of a national audience.
Drew Allar, Quarterback
Top-ranked quarterback recruit Drew Allar shined in his time under center. Allar offered a lot for Nittany Lions fans to be excited about, including a long touchdown pass early in the second quarter to a wide-open receiver streaking into the end zone through busted coverage.
Though he faced pressure, Allar looked undeterred, often appearing mobile in evasive attempts or staying in the pocket to deliver a quick pass. Through a few blitz scenarios, Allar looked calm and made good decisions even when they did not convert.
Late in the fourth quarter, Allar earned himself a comparison to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes when he completed a long pass off his back foot with two defenders hot on his tail.
There were times when the 6’5″ quarterback’s impressive arm strength worked against him, as throws came in with too much speed or distance. Still, there were an equal number of moments that showed off his careful precision.
With Allar set to enroll early at Penn State, fans should be excited about his upcoming development in Happy Valley.
Nicholas Singleton, Running Back
As the East fell behind early, it appeared as though the coaches opted to abandon the run game. Despite some work early on, five-star running back Nicholas Singleton did not receive an overwhelming workload in comparison to the wide receivers.
Even without receiving a positive game script, Singleton added another award to his already impressive accolade list. A month after being named Gatorade’s National Player of the Year, the Governor Mifflin High School running back won the All-American Bowl’s Offensive Player of the Year award.
In the days leading up to the All-American Bowl, Singleton received praise from attendants of the East team’s practices because of his propensity for salvaging broken plays and his overwhelming speed. With Allar serving as his team’s quarterback in the bowl game, this was the first time the two five-star recruits were able to share a backfield in a game setting.
In practices this week, we saw plenty of chemistry between Allar and Singleton, too.
Dani Dennis-Sutton, Defensive Lineman
Chasing after future Clemson and UCLA quarterbacks Cade Klubnik and Justyn Martin, four-star defensive lineman recruit Dani Dennis-Sutton made his presence felt. Early in the second quarter, Dennis-Sutton blew past the opposing offense tackle (an Ohio State commit) by immediately following the snap to pick up a huge sack (against an incoming Ohio State quarterback).
Outside of his single sack, Dennis-Sutton also managed to pick up a handful of pressures. He forced faster throws and quicker decisions from the quarterbacks.
The prospect from Owings Mills, Maryland became such a defensive nuisance that the West began double-teaming him, though that opened up more opportunities for Dennis-Sutton’s teammates to pick up sacks and pressures of their own.
Keon Wylie, Linebacker
For three-star prospect Keon Wylie, the All-American Bowl served as an important step in his defensive growth. Primarily having played on the defensive line in high school, Wylie was recruited by coach James Franklin to play linebacker. Saturday afternoon was the first time he entered a game with that position truly in mind.
Wylie did not have a very active day in pressuring the quarterback, but he showed encouraging positional promise. Arguably the most crucial aspect of a linebacker’s duties is to secure tackles past the line of scrimmage, and Wylie excelled.
Jeremiah Trotter, a 12-year veteran of the NFL, served as a linebacker coach at the All-American Bowl, and he was very hands-on in working with Wylie.
“I couldn’t tell [he] hadn’t played linebacker before,” Trotter said about Wylie. “They’re two totally different positions, and the way you attack is different, so he’s impressed. He’ll do great at Penn State. He’s physical, smart, and has a good feel for the position.”
Facing off against top high school recruits from around the country, these four Penn Staters held their own. Although their team didn’t earn a win, Allar, Singleton, Dennis-Sutton, and Wylie gave Nittany Lion fans plenty to be excited about.
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