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PSU Football Recruiting

PSU recruiting notebook: Lions make final group for four top recruits

Photo from Gi'Bran Payne Twitter

Four players in the Class of 2022 recently included the Nittany Lions among their top groups. Running back Gi’Bran Payne and cornerback Julian Humphrey named Penn State as a contender among their five finalists, defensive end Jihaad Campbell listed the Nittany Lions among his eight favorites, while Curlee Thomas IV, another defensive end, named Penn State in his top 11.

Payne is a four-star talent who is considered the 18th-best running back and 182nd player in the entire class. From Cincinnati, he attends LaSalle High School, but missed most of his junior season with an injury. The Nittany Lions offered him last March, and he also included Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, and Northwestern as his top options.

Humphrey is from Houston, and plays for Clear Lake High School. He’s ranked 149th nationally, and included LSU, Texas A&M, Southern Cal, and Arizona State as his other finalists. His other brother, John, played for the Sun Devils. Penn State offered him in January, and he’s eyeing a decision in April.

Campbell is from Sicklerville, New Jersey, but recently transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. A three-star prospect who is on the cusp of four-star status, Campbell also included Georgia, Oklahoma, Clemson, Rutgers, Florida, Texas A&M, and Ohio State as his contenders. The Nittany Lions joined the fray in his recruitment in August.

From Fort Worth, Texas, Thomas is a three-star talent who ranks 507th in the class. A First-Team All-State honoree as a junior, Thomas listed Arkansas, SMU, Cal, UCLA, Oklahoma State, Cincinnati, Texas Tech, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, and Louisiana Tech as his other contenders. The Nittany Lions offered him last month.

Nittany Lions offer RB Hayden, DLs Saka, Wing

Penn State continued to expand its options for the Class of 2022 recently, offering a trio of players – four-star running back Dallan Hayden, and three-star defensive ends Anto Saka and Micah Wing.

Hayden, from Memphis, Tennessee, is evaluated as the 22nd-best running back in the class, and 207th player nationally per the 247 Composite. His father, Aaron Hayden, played at Tennessee and in the NFL with three teams, while Dallan’s brother, Chase, recently transferred to Illinois. Both the Vols and Illini have offered Hayden. On Jan. 1, he listed Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oregon, and Tennessee in his top four, with the intention of committing in the spring.

Saka hails from Towson, Maryland, and attends Loyola Blakefield High School. He’s ranked as the 440th player nationally, and the 10th best prospect in Maryland. Listed at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Saka’s notable offers include Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Pitt, and Virginia Tech. His recruitment has surged recently, as he’s collected 25 offers since the beginning of December.

Wing, who received his Penn State offer on Tuesday, is from Bear, Delaware. He ranks as the third-best player in his state, but 969th nationally. His other Power Five offers consist of Boston College, Kansas, Pitt, Rutgers, and Virginia Tech.

Five-star cornerback target commits elsewhere

One of the top defensive targets for Penn State came off the recruiting board last week, as five-star cornerback Will Johnson pledged to Michigan. Johnson, ranked as the fifth-best corner and the 11th overall player nationally in the Class of 2022, had been a target for Penn State for more than two years. The Grosse Pointe, Michigan native received his offer from the Nittany Lions in February 2019, just days after Michigan entered the mix. He’s a legacy commit for the Wolverines, as his father Deon Johnson played for Michigan in the early 90s.

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