Penn State’s 2022 recruiting class— many of which are already on campus and practicing with the team— has been arguably the most anticipated in James Franklin’s tenure, if not program history.
The 2023 class is giving Nittany Lions fans plenty to be excited about, too.
With National Signing Day still more than eight months away, the Nittany Lions already have eight commits, with five being rated four stars or higher by 247Sports’ composite rankings.
Penn State hasn’t received a commit since J’ven Williams did so Feb. 5, and while Nittany Lions fans eagerly await the next time Franklin tweets out his signal, Penn State got some good news Friday when two prized recruits from the 2023 class listed the Nittany Lions in their top five.
Treyaun Webb, a four-star running back from Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida, released his top five early in the afternoon.
Blessed To Be In This Position 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/pIDzN6Ykee
— Treyaun Webb (@w_treyaun) March 25, 2022
Hours later, Jameial Lyons, a defensive end from Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia, did the same, and both had the Penn State logo in their respective graphics.
Top 5!!! (Recruitment 100% Still Open) pic.twitter.com/l05cd67g5v
— Jameial Lyons (@Mill12k) March 26, 2022
It’s far from a guarantee that Franklin will get either player, let alone both. None of 247Sports’ Crystal Ball projections have either player coming to Penn State, but with that said, there doesn’t appear to be a clear front runner for Webb or Lyons.
With Penn State in both top fives, the idea of either or both players committing is enticing for Nittany Lions fans. Here is what a commitment from either one would mean for Penn State’s 2023 class and, subsequently, the program’s future.
WHAT LANDING TREYAUN WEBB WOULD MEAN
Penn State doesn’t currently have a running back commit for the 2023 class, but if Webb were to commit, he might have difficulty cracking Penn State’s rotation.
Nick Singleton, a five-star seen by many as the top tailback from the 2022 class, is at Penn State already and practicing. Kaytron Allen, a four-star from IMG Academy, is also in Happy Valley, and many schools would have gladly taken Allen as their top running back signee.
Keyvone Lee is also still in the fold and coming into his junior season. Lee is still good enough to where Penn State fans shouldn’t forget about him, even if the coaching staff seems to at times.
If Penn State doesn’t land Webb, it wouldn’t be fatal. The Nittany Lions have plenty of options at running back and plenty of time to find another one in this recurring cycle.
Still, there’s a reason Penn State offered Webb— a two-time state champion at Trinity Christian— and a reason its courted him heavily enough to crack his top five. With 1200 yards and 11 touchdowns in just 12 games, Webb is explosive and would be a big get for Penn State even with the other runners that are currently on campus, especially since he’s versatile enough to play cornerback well.
Webb’s best place at Penn State might be on defense, since right now, four-star cornerback Lamont Payne is the only defensive commit in the 2023 class.
WHAT LANDING JAMEIAL LYONS WOULD MEAN
Like Webb, Penn State has a game-changer coming in at Lyons’s position as well.
Defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton, who is coming to campus this summer, is, like Singleton, a five-star thought by many to be the best player at his position in the 2022 class. Penn State’s 2023 class, however, is lacking on the defensive side of the ball.
With four-star defensive end Neeo Avery announcing his de-commitment Sunday morning, Payne is the only defender committed to Penn State for the 2023 recruiting cycle.
Part of this is by design. Penn State’s main focus for 2023 is beefing up its offensive line, and Franklin and o-line coach Phil Trautwein have certainly succeeded. But like with Webb, there’s a reason Penn State is going after Lyons, and losing out on Lyons could have added obnoxiousness for Nittany Lion fans since Pitt and West Virginia are also in his top five. Lyons spoke favorably of Pat Narduzzi’s program in a recent interview with Pittsburgh Sports Now.
Whether Sutton turns into an All-American or a disappointment, it can never hurt to have talent at defensive end, and Lyons would give Penn State that.
Perhaps the best way to put it is that, at least from the looks of it, Penn State’s 2022 and 2023 recruiting classes combine for a Thanksgiving dinner.
There is plenty of quality on the table, and Lyons, Webb or both would be gravy on the Turkey. Penn State is lacking on the defense side, and both players— especially Lyons— are capable of playing on defense.
If Penn State gets either one, it’d make life better for Franklin and his staff. If they don’t, however, it’s no reason to be discouraged.