The Penn State Nittany Lions, who boast the 6th best-recruiting class in the country with 23 signees, 16 of which are rated four stars or above will have ten of these players enroll in Happy Valley in the spring to get a head start in getting up to speed to be potential contributors for the 2022 Nittany Lions.
These ten players are led by 2021 football Mr. Ohio in quarterback Drew Allar and the Gatorade National Player of the Year Nicholas Singleton. Other players who are enrolling in the spring are quarterback Beau Pribula, running back Kayton Allen, wide receivers Kaden Saunders, athlete Omari Evans, tight end Jerry Cross, offensive lineman JB Nelson defensive lineman Zane Durant, and cornerback Cam Miller.
Let’s talk about the prospects and the impact that they can have on Penn State.
Allar and Fribula
These two recruits will surely have the benefit of learning from a sixth-year senior Sean Clifford. Allar is the more accomplished high school athlete with the prototypical size (6‘5” 228) that the NFL scouts drool over. Pribula, however also has a strong arm and is far more mobile than Allar and could be a better fit for James Franklin’s system. It will be interesting to see how these two will compete in the next year or so when one of them will take over for Clifford.
Singleton and Allen
Singleton is the best running back prospect with his size (6’0”, 215), speed (4.5 40-yard dash), and power to remind scout of a young Nick Chubb. Singleton has rushed for 1,311 yards on a whopping 12.3 yards per rush, and 22 touchdowns on the ground for Governor Mifflin High School in Shillington, PA. His counterpart Allen is an even bigger back at 225 pounds and has the look of a classic Big Ten running back that is needed in those heated Eastern division matchups in November. The Virginia native averaged 8.1 yards a carry for the IMG Academy in his high school career. Unlike the two aforementioned quarterbacks, one or both can make an impact from day one for Penn State.
Sanders, Evans, and Cross
These three top-level pass-catchers will help make up for the recent departures of Pat Freiermuth and Jahan Dotson. The Nittany Lions have a lot of unproven talent at the skill positions coming back and these three will have a chance to develop chemistry with Clifford, Allar, or Pribula. Sanders is a shifty, quick player that can make plays out of the slot and also played running back in high school so he knows how to move with the ball in his hand in tight spaces. Omari Evans is a burner who ran track and played mostly quarterback in high school. Evans projects as a wide receiver at the college level. It may take time for these two to develop into true wideout, but the potential is there and they will benefit from the extra spring practice. Cross is a 6’6” 257-pound man that played some wide receiver in high school. The Wisconsin native is not known for his blocking but he can split out wide. I believe that he will have to develop his blocking skills before he gets his chance to show his true skills.
Nelson is a native of Mt. Lebanon and was enrolled a Lackawanna Community College where he was the second-ranked junior college prospect in the nation. Nelson projects as a guard at the next level and at 320 pounds and a 4.7 shuttle time he has the size and quickness to hold his own against Big Ten interior linemen. I think it is a matter of whether he can develop his core strength and technique.
Durant is a 6’1’, 250 defensive lineman from Florida who is most likely there because of new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. He is a bit undersized for an interior lineman so I would think the coaching staff will redshirt him for 2022.
Miller was a three-sport athlete at Trinity Christian Academy that is a bigger corner who can match the physicality of bigger receivers and has the speed and quickness to match up against the smaller quicker receivers in the Big Ten. Miller has the potential to be the biggest impact freshman tor Penn State in 2022.