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Penn State hosts a collection of top recruits on campus this weekend
Penn State begins a tremendously important recruiting weekend Friday, when nearly 20 prospects are expected to arrive in Happy Valley. Every college football program has a vital 48 hours of official visits, and though all are important, this is that moment for the Nittany Lions.
“Looking forward to being around an elite group of guys all weekend and getting closer,” Penn State kicker commit Jake Pinegar said.
Pinegar is among approximately 15 Nittany Lions pledges who plan to spend this weekend on campus. They’ll be joined by family members, creating a communal atmosphere that should help increase rapport among players and members of the Penn State staff.
“I’m expecting a really good time as we get to know each other more on a personal level, away from just competing with each other in camp and on the football field,” tight end Pat Freiermuth said. “I’m excited to spend a whole weekend with them, not just the few hours we get when we’re visiting for a game.”
Freiermuth and Pinegar will share meals, conversations and experiences in State College with a large collection of future teammates. This projected list features 5-star recruits Justin Shorter (receiver) and Ricky Slade (running back), top-10 tight end prospect Zack Kuntz, quarterback Will Levis and linebacker Jesse Luketa.
They also will spend time with current members of the program, which freshman cornerback Lamont Wade alluded to here:
Official Visit Weekend wasssss poppin 2k18 Class
— LaMont Wade 🦍 (@Goony_38) December 8, 2017
Along with an impressive group of pledges, there are three very notable uncommitted talents on campus: offensive tackle Rasheed Walker, and defensive ends Micah Parsons and Tyreke Smith.
Parsons, who previously spent 14 months in Penn State’s class, is less than two weeks from his commitment announcement. The Harrisburg (Pa.) standout will reveal a collegiate choice Dec. 20, coinciding with the new early-signing period (Dec. 20-22), and schools such as Oklahoma and Georgia remain in the mix.
“Honestly, I’m not really expecting anything other than bonding with the guys at Penn State,” Parsons told Adam Friedman of Rivals.com. “I want to be with the people I’ll potentially be with for the next four years. That’s what I’m looking for, bonding time with the players and coaches. The coaches could have something different planned for this weekend, and I’m sure that would be fun too.”
Smith, a coveted Cleveland lineman, will announce his decision Jan. 4 during the Under Armour All-America Game. Penn State aims to pair Walker with fellow top-10 offensive tackle Nana Asiedu.
RELATED: 2018 Penn State recruiting big board
This trio can expect plenty of sales pitches during their stay in Happy Valley.
“Those of us who will be on campus are definitely going to be in their ear the entire time,” Freiermuth said. “We’ll be telling them to join the family. I think it’s going to help not being at a game, because we’re going to have the time to build relationships.”
Optimism is abundant that Penn State could end up adding all three targets to its 2018 class.
“I definitely feel very confident the uncommitted guys visiting probably, hopefully will join the class at some point,” Freiermuth said.
Nittany Lions move forward without OL Antwan Reed in class
The pursuit of 2018 prospects became a bit more important Thursday night, when offensive lineman Antwan Reed revealed intentions to attend a different university. He pledged to Penn State on April 22 while on campus for the spring game, and was one of four longtime Nittany Lions offensive line commits.
A HUGE thanks to the Penn State coaching staff this has been a blessed opportunity and looking forward to what god has planned for me ☝❤️ pic.twitter.com/3hWRZXHrpi
— Ajizzle (@antwan_reed) December 8, 2017
Reed, a 6-foot-6, 325-pound senior at Muskegon (Mich.) High School, is considered a top-20 offensive tackle and top-300 overall recruit in 247Sports composite rankings. As a result, the Nittany Lions now carry 20 commitments in this recruiting cycle.
This leaves Asiedu, Bryce Effner and Fredrick Scruggs as the team’s remaining offensive line pledges. Penn State might eventually replace him with Walker, who is on campus this weekend as I referenced above.
Penn State peaked with 23 pledges after a mid-summer spree of 10 commitments in a six-week span. The Nittany Lions have since parted ways with defensive end Dorian Hardy and Isheem Young due to off-field issues.
Expect James Franklin to finish with a flurry of blue-chip recruitments, solidifying Penn State’s spot in top-10 class rankings on National Signing Day (Feb. 7).
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