The new early signing period in college football occurs Dec. 20-22, and Penn State is primed to finalize key recruitments with many impressive prospects. We’ll highlight anticipated Nittany Lions newcomers throughout the week.
Penn State is set to sign 4-star offensive tackle Nana Asiedu this week. Here’s what you need to know about the future Nittany Lions player.
High School: North Stafford (Stafford, Va.)
Size: 6-foot-5, 265 pounds
247Sports composite ranking: No. 8 offensive tackle; No. 97 overall; No. 3 in Virginia
When he committed to Penn State: April 22, 2017
Other college offers: Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia
The path to Penn State
Nana Asiedu was more athlete than lineman when he first began playing high school football. He’s managed to achieve balance during these past few years while bulking up.
Asiedu, who also impressed along the defensive line and at tight end for North Stafford, achieved notoriety fairly early upon transitioning focus from basketball to football, according to Greg Pickel of PennLive.
“He was an all-conference hoops player, and knocked on my door [as a freshman] and said ‘I think I want to play football,'” North Stafford coach Joe Mangano told Pickel. “I told him, ‘You’re going to have colleges up and down the East Coast [recruiting you] if you just halfway develop.”
That turned out to be the case, as college coaches didn’t need proof of a polished product before extending scholarship offers in bunches. Asiedu secured offers from Clemson, Penn State, South Carolina and Tennessee before the end of his sophomore year.
The Nittany Lions entered the mix April 28, 2016, and hosted him on campus later that spring. He continued to survey his options, while adding several more powerhouse programs as college options, but a return trip to Penn State in April 2017 sealed the deal.
Asiedu committed to James Franklin while on campus, and the news broke shortly before kickoff of Penn State’s April 22 spring game. He traveled to Happy Valley multiple times this season, and used an official visit Dec. 8-10.
Asiedu continued to blossom as a senior, displaying increased strength and technique while maintaining the athleticism that separates him from so many peers. He’s a very trim 265 pounds at this point, and should be able to comfortably add good weight at Penn State without sacrificing his quickness.
It’s tough to point to statistics as proof of success when it comes to offensive linemen, but one glance at the production of North Stafford’s run game provides evidence. He helped pave the way for running back Devyn Ford, a blue-chip 2019 recruit who also holds a Nittany Lions offer.
Ford gained 2,056 yards on the ground this season en route to 32 touchdowns, according to Inside NOVA. Asiedu was often out in front for many of Ford’s biggest runs, as he reached the second level to eliminate linebackers from the equation.
Due to his above-average lateral agility, Asiedu can be trusted to deliver on a pull from tackle when called upon. He has the physical arsenal to handle the dynamic edge rushers that await him in Big Ten action, and continued strength development will go a long way toward handling power rush moves.
Asiedu is the headliner of a solid offensive line class for Penn State, as the Nittany Lions are also set to sign top-10 interior lineman Fredrick Scruggs and top-50 tackle Bryce Effner.
Competition awaits from members of a 2017 class who redshirted, while Penn State may also still add another elite talent at the position. The Nittany Lions remain a legitimate contender for 4-star tackle Rasheed Walker of Maryland.
Penn State appears to be in good shape at tackle moving forward. Ryan Bates impressed at left tackle and his value was further proven by struggles in the rushing attack that occurred during his late-season absence due to injury. Bates is back healthy now and working at right tackle following the emergence of left tackle Will Fries, who has really impressed since his opportunity arrived in October.
The transition from high school to college is always difficult in the offensive trenches, so we may not see Asiedu crack the two-deep until 2019. Considering the advancements he’s made on the field in a short time, expectations will be quite high if he’s ready to contribute after a potential learning year that further expands his physical frame.
Asiedu will compete in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 6. He was the final roster addition, according to All-American Bowl national recruiting director Erik Richards.
“The committee just couldn’t ignore the improvement Nana made from the start of the season through North Stafford’s last game,” Richards told Land of 10. “Really believe that sometimes the last selections for the game have the biggest upside.”
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