Getting your first Division I offer is obviously a big deal but when it comes from a major Power Five program, that makes it even more special.
That’s what happened on Monday with 2024 defensive lineman Jahsear Whittington from Imhotep Charter Institute in Philadelphia. Whittington took part in a Big Man Challenge at Penn State in June and got the news from assistant coach Deion Barnes that he’d earned an offer from the Nittany Lions.
Nittany Sports Now caught up with Whittington this morning to get his reaction to the big news and to find out more about him as a player.
“Getting my first offer from Penn State meant a lot honestly,” said Whittington. “Penn State produces so many defensive players that go to the NFL and especially defensive lineman that come from the same school like me, Shaka Toney. I just know how big Penn State is being up there for the Big Man Challenge. I saw how it was and could see me playing there one day, if that’s the decision I would make. It was so big to get my first offer from a school like Penn State.”
“I was down in the weight room getting ready for practice and one of my assistant coaches told me that my coach was looking for me. Then my friend was telling me to hurry up because I guess he knew that the offer was coming. I got upstairs and got on the call with Coach Deion Barnes and told me that my film speaks for itself and saw it in me ever since watching me in 1-on-1’s at the Big Man Challenge. After I got the news, I got back to work lifting and getting ready for practice, I didn’t call anyone. Although it was a huge personal moment for me, I needed to stay focused and locked down on getting ready for practice, I knew that I would have time to celebrate afterwards.”
Playing the defensive line is still relatively new for Whittington as he tells NSN that he recently made the switch from inside linebacker. Despite still learning the position, his 6-foot-2, 255 pound frame and athleticism will no doubt intrigue many programs and this major offer won’t be his last one.
“I think I’m showing teams that I’m not a one position player,” said Whittington. “I think that I’m showing that I can beat anyone from different positions on the defensive line. I’ve shown quickness and have gotten better after making the switch from linebacker about three months ago. I believe my strengths are my footwork and my quickness in getting off the ball to make plays.”
— Jahsear Whittington ✪ (@jahwh1tt) August 28, 2021
James Franklin’s team currently has the No. 2 recruiting class for 2022 and a big part of that is the success his staff has had recruiting the Philadelphia area, which is something that Whittington has noticed.
“I actually play right next to a Penn State commit in Keon Wylie. I also know Ken Talley from Northeast High School is going there and I know a bunch of other kids from the city that have committed there. I also know a whole bunch of kids from Philadelphia that have Penn State offers and for them to be my first offer that’s different.
PENN STATE 2022 COMMITMENTS FROM PHILADELPHIA AREA
4-star linebacker Abdul Carter (LaSalle High School)
3-star linebacker Keon Wylie (Imhotep Charter)
4-star defensive end Ken Talley (Northeast High School)
4-star offensive lineman Drew Shelton (Downingtown West High School)