Penn State recruiting: Pair of blue-chip recruits laud Nittany Lions

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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 Monday through Friday, and follow us on Twitter for the latest Nittany Lions recruiting news.

Elite LB Marcel Brooks explains why Penn State stands out

Marcel Brooks turned some heads May 22 when he tweeted news about his scholarship offer from Penn State. That he landed on the Nittany Lions’ radar wasn’t the surprise — more than 20 Power 5 programs have extended offers. But his response to the development certainly was.

Brooks, who attends Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) High School, labeled the university his “dream school”. It was quite a statement since he received more than 10 offers last May alone.

Considered the No. 7 outside linebacker and No. 107 overall recruit in the 247Sports 2019 composite rankings, Brooks is a coveted commodity across college football. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound prospect plans to announce a commitment June 25.

Land of 10 recently caught up with Brooks to learn more about his excitement toward Penn State. His connection to the Mid-Atlantic is key; he lived in Virginia Beach before relocating to Texas as a high school underclassman.

“Being in Virginia, a lot of kids that we grew up with — [Florida State cornerback] Levonta Taylor, [2018 Ohio State signee] Teradja Mitchell — a lot of us liked Penn State,” Brooks said. “I always liked Penn State and always liked their coaching.”

Though he doesn’t carry an established list of favorites, Brooks mentions the Nittany Lions in the same breath as Alabama, LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma. James Franklin has made Brooks feel like a priority, though the Penn State coach has plenty of company in that department.

“He came to see me at my school at least two times. It was crazy,” Brooks said. “A lot of head coaches come to see me and it’s crazy when they’re coming from all over the country.”

Brooks added that Penn State is in the running for one of his official visits this spring. An altered recruiting calendar now allows high school juniors to use them beginning April 1. Brooks will be busy before that time period, as well, with trips to Alabama, LSU and Texas set for the next three weekends, according to Greg Powers of 247Sports.

While proximity isn’t exactly in Penn State’s favor here, it’s important to note Brooks’ father lives in Baltimore. His upbringing in Virginia also provides familiarity with the region that most other Lone Star State recruits lack.

Several coaching staffs have discussed Brooks’ potential as a hybrid defender who can contribute at safety or outside linebacker, Penn State included.

“I’d rather bring two positions to the table. That’s better than one,” Brooks said. “What happens if they have a senior at linebacker? I can go play safety.”

His physical prowess and impressive ball skills have caused suitors to sell a realistic vision for early playing time.

“Nick Saban is telling me if I get to 225 [pounds], I’ll play my freshman year,” he said.

Penn State carries two commitments in its 2019 recruiting class thus far: New Jersey quarterback Taquan Roberson and local State College cornerback Keaton Ellis. The Nittany Lions signed a pair of 2018 Texas prospects this winter in early enrollees Trent Gordon (cornerback) and Isaiah Humphries (safety).

Franklin faces a difficult challenge attempting to bring Brooks to Happy Valley but his proactive approach and Brooks’ East Coast background provide a boost.

Watch Brooks’ junior-season highlights here:

Penn State makes good impression on 4-star WR David Bell

David Bell was among more than a dozen Penn State recruiting targets who traveled to campus Feb. 3 for a junior day event. The Warren Central (Indianapolis) High School standout received a Penn State offer on Dec. 13 and further established a relationship with Nittany Lions coaches on that first trip to campus.

Bell, considered the No. 12 receiver and a top-100 overall recruit in 2019 composite rankings, talked with multiple members of the staff. He shared some highlights with Ryan Snyder of Blue White Illustrated, and stated the experience elevated Penn State’s stature in his recruitment.

“It was mainly [receivers coach David] Corley, but my 1-on-1 with Coach Franklin went well,” Bell told Snyder. “He said that they really want me and I could do something special at Penn State. Also, [offensive coordinator Ricky] Rahne said I could be a huge part of the offense early in my career.”

Penn State will enter the 2018 season with six scholarship receivers who carry four years of eligibility. This stockpile of young talent balances a position that also features veterans such as Juwan Johnson and DeAndre Thompkins. Efforts are well underway to further build depth, as the Nittany Lions have offered nearly 20 receivers in the 2019 class.

Bell, a 6-2, 185-pound prospect, recorded a second straight 1,000-yard season in 2017 — 52 catches, 1,075 yards and 11 touchdowns in 11 games, according to MaxPreps. Through three high school campaigns, Bell has collected 155 catches for 2,925 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Penn State can expect significant competition from conference opponents. Michigan, Nebraska and Ohio State have each offered since December. Watch Bell’s 2017 highlights here:

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

The post Penn State recruiting: Pair of blue-chip recruits laud Nittany Lions appeared first on Land of 10.

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