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Coverage of Penn State’s 2022 Early National Letter of Intent Signing Day

Penn State Football
Photo by Penn State

UPDATE (4:20 PM): 

**Driver’s tweet may confuse some, as his father was a star NFL receiver. But what Driver is likely referring to is playing at a big time, Division I program. Father Donald played his college football at Alcorn State.

 

UPDATE (1:06 PM): 

 

UPDATE (11:26 AM): Penn State’s 23rd selection is Kaden Saunders, as announced by Penn State All-American and current Chicago Bears receiver Allen Robinson. From Westerville South High School in Westerville Ohio, Saunders is one of the top rated wide receivers in the country.

A four-star recruit who committed to Penn State in late July. Saunders is the 30th ranked player and fourth-ranked receiver on ESPN’s top 300 list. He was also offered by schools such as Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Michigan and Notre Dame.

“You were the first one in this glass,” receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield said. “You were the glue.”

“I promise you this will be the best decision you make in your life…,” Robinson said. “I want you to break every single record possible at this school.”

 

 

UPDATE (11:16 AM): As announced by Poindexter, Penn State’s 22nd signee is Mehki Flowers, an ATH from Central Dauphin East High School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the same hometown as Micah Parsons.

Flowers is known for speed. The sixth-ranked ATH on 247’s composite, Flowers “has skill set to play receiver or saftey” according to 247’s scouting report.

Flowers can help the Nittany Lions in a variety of ways in 2021, as the Lions could use help in both the return game, and in depth at the safety position.

“We’ve had pretty good success with guys in that area staying home and coming to Penn State,” Franklin said. “You have a chance to be one of the next hometown heroes.”

 

UPDATE (10:54 AM): Penn State’s 21st signee of the day is Cristian Driver, son of Green Bay Packer great Donald Driver.

The younger Driver is a 5-11, 185-pound safety from Liberty Christian High School in Argyle, Texas.  He’s a four-star recruit in 247’s composite rankings, fending off offers from schools such as Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Michigan and LSU.

Franklin said this commit is “surreal,” as he coached Donald Driver with the Packers in 2005.

 

 

UPDATE (10:44 AM): Signee No. 20 is a big one.

Kaytron “Fatman” Allen, a four-star out of IMG Academy, is Penn State’s 20th signee, as announced by running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider.

While he’s been overshadowed by Singleton, Allen still could have a lot to offer the Nittany Lions whenever he first plays in Beaver Stadium. A four star from IMG Acadmey, Allen fielded offers from schools such as Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Michigan State, but picked Penn State in mid-July. Allen and Singleton could be a breath of fresh air for a running game that hasn’t had a player for 100 yards since 2020.

Allen is from Norfolk, Virginia, originally, and played at Norview High School before moving to IMG, where he played three seasons. He rushed for 1,400 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior.

 

UPDATE (10:35 AM): The Nittany Lions’ next signee, as announced by defensive line coach John Scott Jr., is Kaleb Artis, a 6-4, 310-pound defensive tackle from St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, NY.

Artis is consensus three-star recruit, ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the state of New York according to 247.

He had offers from schools such as Auburn, Virginia, Boston College and Florida State.

“As hard as you’ve worked to this point,” Franklin said. “It’s going to be a whole other level now.”

UPDATE (10:21 AM):  Penn State’s next signee is a junior college offensive lineman JB Nelson.

Nelson graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School in Pittsburgh, and played two years at Lackawanna Community College, the same school All-American Nittany Lion safety Jaquan Brisker went to for two years before coming to Penn State.

UPDATE (10:11 AM): As announced by former Penn State All-American Mike Mauti, Penn State’s 17th signee is Abdul Carter, a linebacker prospect from La Salle College in Glenside, PA.

Carter is a four-star recruit in 247 Sports’s composite rankings. He turned down offers from SEC schools such as South Carolina, Kentucky and LSU, as well as Maryland.

New defensive coordinator Manny Diaz told Carter was “the first video he put on” after he took the Penn State job last week.

“After about four plays, I said, ‘heck yeah, this is exactly why I came to coach linebackers at Penn State,” Diaz said.

UPDATE (9:55): It’s one of Penn State’s most prized prospects, Dani Dennis-Sutton, a defensive lineman rom McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland.

Sutton, rated as a five-star by Rivals.com, committed to Penn State July 22. He also had offers from Alabama, Georgia, Arizona State and Arkansas.

“Over three years we’ve been recruiting you…,” Franklins said. “The way you’ve handled this entire process has been first class. You guys asked tough questions. You were thorough. You were detailed. One of the most highly recruited players in the country. You never wavered.

 

 

UPDATE (9:46): Signee 15, as announced by Kenny Sanders, is Keon Wylie, another Philly product, from Imhotep Institute.

Wylie is a three-star recruit according to 247’s composite rankings, and hopes to be next in the “Linebacker U” lineage. He’s ranked the No. 10 player in Pennsylvania by Rivals.

“It’s not very often that we can get a young man like you,” Franklin said. “That has great character, that has an unbelievable family and support system, but also comes from a great high school.”

Wylie had offers from Pitt, Kentucky, Akron and Arizona State.

 

UPDATE (9:40): Penn State’s next signee is a Philly product named Ken Talley, a 6-3, 230 pound Edge from Northeast High School.

A consensus four-star recruit, Talley is a “hard hitter who tackles through the ball carrier,” according to his scouting report on 247.

Talley had offers from Akron, Arizona State, Baylor and Boston College, and was praised by Franklin for “never wavering” from his commitment from Penn State.

 

UPDATE (9:26 AM): As announced by wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield, Penn State’s 13th selection is wide receiver Omari Evans, from Shoemaker High School in Killeen, Texas.

Evans is a three-star recruit according to 247 Sports’s composite rankings. He had offers from Rutgers, Vanderbilt and Arkansas.

“It’s not very often that somebody runs a 4.3 40 and has a 4.3 GPA like you,” Franklin said. “They don’t usually align like that. It’s super impressive.”

“We’re so excited to get you here. I think you’re future is so bright.”

 

UPDATE (9:15 AM): Penn State’s next selection, as announced by safeties coach/co-DC Anthony Poindexter, is wide receiver Tyler Johnson, from Magna Vista High School in Ridgeway, Virginia.

Johnson is a three-star recruit according to 247’s composite rankings and a four-star according to ESPN. He also had offers from Boston College, Duke and Purdue, among others. Johnson had more than 1,278 yards receiving in his senior season.

 

 

UPDATE (9:09 AM): 

UPDATE (9:02 AM): Penn State’s next signee is Cam Miller, a 6-0, 180-pound DB from Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida.

 

Miller is a four-star recruit according to 247Sports’s composite rankings, and chose Penn State over Virginia Tech, Air Force, App State and Duke.

 

 

“Enjoy today, Cam,” Franklin said. “Make sure you take time to thank Mom and Dad and all your coaches, your trainer, everybody because you haven’t done this by yourself.”

 

 

UPDATE (8:53 AM): Penn State’s next signee is a big one, both figuratley and literally.

It’s Drew Shelton, a 6-5, 290-pound offensive tackle from Downington West High School in Downington, Pennsylvania.

 

“We grew up right near each other, my high school dominates your high school,”  Franklin, a native of Langhorne, PA, said. “But besides that, we’re just proud of you.”

Penn State fans might pay extra attention to Shelton, as the offensive line has been arguably the most-maligned position group of the 2021 season. Shelton, a four-star, is Penn State’s highest-rated offensive line prospect and is ranked 11 at his position in 247 Sports’s composite rankings. Shelton, from Downingtown West High School in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, committed to Penn State in early September and also received offers from Florida, Arizona State, Bowling Green and Cincinnati.

 

 

 

UPDATE (8:40 AM): Penn State’s next signee, as announced by current Pittsburgh Steeler Pat Friermuth, is tight end Jerry Cross, 6-5, from King High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“The way you handled this entire process was awesome,” Franklin said.  I remember we offered a kid that we didn’t know very well from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the very next day, you called and tried to commit.

“Every step of the way, you handled it first class.”

Cross will join a crowded tight end room that features Theo Johnson, Brenton Strange and Tyler Warren.

 

 

UPDATE (8:29 AM): Penn State’s next signee, as announced by former All-American center AQ Shipley, is Maleek McNeil, a 6-7, 340 pound offensive tackle from Walter Panas High School in Cortlandt Manor, New York.

“It’s a business trip,” McNeil said. “It’s time to get to work, man. That’s what I’m ready for.”

“Penn State is much more than business,” Franklin said. “It’s about family.”

 

UPDATE (8:25 AM): Kevin Winston Jr. is Penn State’s seventh signee is Kevin Winston Jr., a three-star safety from DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland. The safety has been committed since late-July.

 

UPDATE (8:13 AM): As announced by former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley, the sixth signee is quarterback Beau Pribula, from Central York High School in York, PA.

Pribula, overshadowed by Allar, is a three-star recruit in 247 Sports’ Composite Rankings and a four-star according to ESPN.

“You’re the total package. I think I’ve told you that. No disrespect to Trace, but I think you have the chance to be able to do things that Trace wasn’t able to do.”

 

 

UPDATE (8:02 AM): As announced by former Penn State and current Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki, Penn State’s fifth signee is running back Nick Singleton, the recently-named Gatorade National High School Football Player of the Year.

“Yesterday was a big day as well, named the Gatorade National Player of the Year,” Franklin said. “What an awesome honor. That’s an unbelievable honor, but the crazy thing is I’m more excited for your future here and what you’re going to be able to do.”

Singleton has a five-star rating by 247 and is thought by many to be the top prep running back in America. The Governor Mifflin High School product rushed for 2,059 yards and 44 touchdowns in his senior season. He’s been committed to Penn State since early July.

 

UPDATE (7:49 AM): The fourth signee is Zane Durant, a defensive tackle from Lake Nona HS in Orlando, Florida.

“This is a special day for you and the family,” Franklin said. “I hope you enjoy it.”

“The thing that’s special about you that I want to make sure everybody knows is that you already have 26 credits. There’s no reason why you can’t do it all. That’s the plan. I’m super proud of you… Zane, I love you, big man, and can’t wait to get you here.”

Durant is a four star prospect, and fans are excited about the possibility of him teaming up with fellow highly-touted lineman Dani Dennis-Sutton.

 

UPDATE (7:43 AM): As announced by Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour, Penn State’s third signee is Anthony Ivey, a wide receiver from Manheim, PA,

Ivey won’t get the attention the way Saunders and Flowers do, but still could be an asset to Penn State’s receiving corps in the post-Jahan Dotson era. At 6-0 and 190 pounds, Ivey, from Manheim Township high school and Lancaster, PA, is a “high-level athlete” according to 247’s report written in March of 2020. He’s been committed to Penn State since October of his junior season.

 

UPDATE (7:28 AM): As announced by Penn State special teams coach Joe Lorig, the Nittany Lions selected punter Alex Bacchetta.

Bacchetta, a three-star punter from Atlanta, Georgia, chose Penn State over Arkansas, Virginia, Alabama and Baylor.

“I hope you have felt this throughout the entire recruiting process, but this is a place that really values special teams,” Franklin said. A lot of places give it lip service.

“I know as soon as you got on campus, it just made sense… enjoy today. You’ve worked really hard for this.”

“I think it couldn’t be a better fit, and I’m really excited to get to work with him,” Lorig said.

Bacchetta is thought to perhaps be the heir apparent to Jordan Stout, the Big Ten’s Punter of the Year and a Ray Guy Award Finalist.

 

 

Update (7:14 AM): The “first overall selection” of this years signing day , as announced by former PSU quarterback and NFL Pro Bowler Michael Robinson, is, who else, quarterback  Drew Allar of Medina, Ohio.

The Medina High School product, thought by many to be both the top prep QB in the nation and the Crown Jewel of Penn State’s class, has been committed to Penn State since March and has a 5-star rating by 247Sports. He finished his senior season with 4,443 passing yards, 48 touchdowns and a 60 percent completion rate.

“We love you,” Franklin told the quarterback. We’re excited about your future, so make sure you give your mom and dad and sister a big hug.”

“We’re very grateful that you chose Penn State are your future home, your current home now,” offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. “Thank you guys for everything, and we’re super excited to have you.”

Allar’s highlights can be found here.

 

 

Penn State’s 2022 recruiting class is arguably the most highly touted of James Franklin’s tenure. Today, many of those signings will become official. Follow along as Nittany Sports Now keeps you posted with updates throughout the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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