Penn State recruiting: OL John Olmstead puts PSU in top 10; Lions offer linemen

Stay updated as Penn State rises toward the top of the recruiting rankings! Don’t miss the coverage from  Tyler Donohue, who brings a decade of experience as a national college football reporter and a recruiting department staff member with a Big Ten program. Read his daily notebooks  here at 7:20 p.m. ET Sunday through Thursday, and follow us on  Twitter for the latest Nittany Lions recruiting news.

4-star OL John Olmstead lists Penn State among top options

New Jersey offensive lineman John Olmstead claims nearly 40 scholarship offers. The St. Joseph (Metuchen) High School junior took a significant leap forward in his recruitment Friday afternoon, tweeting a list of 10 favorite universities.

Olmstead, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound prospect, revealed these top options by tweeting this video:

Aside from Olmstead’s impressive stockpile of college gear, the presence of Big Ten programs especially stands out. Penn State is one of seven schools within the conference considered contenders to sign him next winter.

Considered the No. 19 tackle and a top-200 overall recruit in 247Sports composite rankings, he earned a Nittany Lions offer last May. Soon afterward, Olmstead described a long-term interest in the program.

“I grew up watching Penn State so it’s a big offer for me,” he told Land of 10. “I think I could play there. I’m really excited about the offer and ready to build relationships with the coaches.”

He traveled to Happy Valley alongside his father and brother-in-law last April for the 2017 Blue-White Game.

“It was awesome,” Olmstead said. “Even though I’ve been following Penn State since I was a little kid, it was my first time ever there. My jaw dropped when I walked into the stadium through the gate where the players come through.”

Penn State has since drastically expanded its search for 2019 offensive line prospects, though none are committed to the Nittany Lions.

James Franklin continues to target New Jersey recruiting turf with success. Penn State signed the state’s top two players in the 2018 cycle (receiver Justin Shorter and defensive end Jayson Oweh), and secured a verbal pledge from top-ranked New Jersey quarterback Taquan Roberson in October.

Along with Olmstead, notable 2019 Nittany Lions targets in the Garden State include defensive lineman Antonio Alfano, safety/receiver Ronnie Hickman and offensive lineman Caedan Wallace.

Watch Olmstead’s junior-season highlights here:

Lions offer elite young linemen on both sides of the ball

Though the 2019 recruiting class is now directly in the cross-hairs for Penn State’s coaching staff, attention continues to expand toward prospects beyond the cycle. Another two targets emerged in the trenches this weekend when the Nittany Lions offered Damon Payne and Luke Wypler.

Payne, a 6-4, 255-pound freshman at Belleville (Mich.) High School, is among the most coveted 2021 linemen. He spent time at Penn State this weekend, journeying alongside a group of teammates headlined by priority 2019 tackle target Devontae Dobbs (we’ll have more on Dobbs’ experience in our Monday recruiting notebook), and returned home with an offer.

Well on his way toward following the footsteps of Dobbs —  considered a 5-star prospect and the top-ranked player at his position in composite rankings — Payne is approaching 10 total Power 5 opportunities less than one year into high school.

“He’s my prodigy,” Dobbs told Land of 10 on Sunday.

Payne’s offer sheet also features Florida State, Georgia, Iowa and Michigan. This early in his career, tackle, defensive end and defensive tackle are each possible landing spots in college.

Wypler is yet another blue-chip Penn State target who attends high school in New Jersey. The 6-4, 270-pound St. Joseph (Montvale) sophomore has seen his recruitment explode this month.

Penn State extended an offer Friday, joining Michigan, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Ohio State and Wisconsin as programs that haven entered this pursuit since the start of March. Previous options include Florida, Stanford and in-state Rutgers.

Wypler is listed 4th among guards and 75th overall in 247Sports’ 2020 rankings.

“Schools are recruiting me as an interior lineman — guard, center,” he told NJ.com’s Todderick Hunt. “I know a lot of coaches see me as a center because I have a high IQ for the game. So I think center is the main one.”

Wypler joins Alfano, Olmstead and Wallace as top-tier Penn State lineman targets from New Jersey. The Nittany Lions’ early 2020 offensive line recruiting board also includes Anton Harrison (Washington, D.C.), Paris Johnson (Cincinnati) and Chris Morris (Memphis, Tenn.).

Watch Wypler’s 2017 highlights here:


Miss any previous editions of our daily Penn State recruiting notebook? You can find them all  here.

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