Penn State has some players in its 2022 recruiting class that, thanks to this being the 2020s and high school football recruits having more exposure than ever, are practically household names among Nittany Lions fans.
Quarterback Drew Allar is the top arm in this year’s class, according to some, and runningback Nick Singleton was recently named the Gatorade High School Player of the Year. On the defensive side, defensive lineman Dani Dennis-Sutton is a five-star, according to Rivals.com. These names come out of the Penn Stater’s collective mouth more so than even some of the more prominent current Nittany Lions.
With Penn State signing 23 recruits Wednesday— and more presumably on the way– some players are bound to get left under the radar.
Terry Smith, associate head coach/defensive recruiting coordinator/cornerbacks coach, touched on some future Nittany Lion defenders that aren’t as celebrated as Danis-Sutton or Cristin Driver– son of former Green Bay Packer great Donald Driver, who is listed as a safety.
For Smith, the best defensive player in this class might not be the five-star Sutton or even a four-star recruit.
“I think Keon Wylie may be the best player on the defensive side,” Smith said Wednesday.
Wylie, a 6-2, 200-pound linebacker from Imhotep High School in Philadelphia, is a three-star recruit according to 247Sports’s composite rankings. He’s one of three Philly products that Smith helped land, as Smith is largely in charge of finding recruits from the Philly region. Smith described Wylie as a “humble servant.”
“He doesn’t say much, but you look at the production of his film, this guy gets after it every snap,” Smith said “He plays relentless to the football, he comes here, and we put a couple pounds on him, get him a little bit stronger, I think the upside of this guy is tremendous. We’re just excited about what he brings to the table.”
Another player Smith mentioned is Cam Miller, a 6-0, 175-pound defensive back from Yulee, Florida. Miller’s high school, Trinity Christian, has won nine state championships overall and won its second straight last Thursday.
What impresses Smith is Miller’s ability to transfer from a small high school to a dominant one and make a colossal impact.
“Here’s a kid that transferred from a small school just outside of Jacksonville to Trinity, a traditional power in Florida and became their best player. Was a two-way guy there. Played the wildcat and played some receiver, and they got him the ball all over the place on a traditional state championship team.”
Smith also touched on another Philly product; Abdul Carter, a 6-3, 235-pound linebacker from La Salle High School. Smith said Carter’s upside was “through the roof.”
“I mean, this guy works as hard as they come,” Smith said. “I was watching an interview with him earlier, and one of the comments he made was he doesn’t ever want to take a day off or play off. Just that mindset alone tells you he’s destined for great success.”
Overall, Smith looks forward to the day Penn State’s recruits can finally play in Beaver Stadium.
“I’m just excited to get these guys here,” he said.