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PSU Football Recruiting

No. 1 2024 ILB Payton Pierce ‘Super Excited’ to Get an Offer from Linebacker U

The number one rated linebacker in the class of 2024 Payton Pierce (6-foot-1, 225-pounds) spoke to Nittany Sports Now about receiving a scholarship offer to linebacker U, Penn State. Pierce is a four-star recruit from Lovejoy High School in Lucas, Texas. He is the No. 56 rated recruit on Rivals for the class of 2024, and the No. 93 rated recruit on 247Sports.

“I was actually super excited to hear from Penn State,” said Pierce. The offer from Penn State came after one of their coaches visited his high school to talk to the team’s wide receivers (Penn State has already offered Kyle Parker, a wide receiver teammate of Pierce at Lovejoy). That coach put Pierce in touch with Penn State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz who made the scholarship offer to Pierce.

“I was super excited about it, I was really pumped,” said Pierce. “I’ve kind of been a Penn State fan growing up, so I was excited to get that call.”

He is a Penn State fan because of wrestling. More specifically because of former Penn State national champion Bo Nickal, who is from Allen, Texas and a best friend of Pierce’s brother. Nickal graduated from Penn State in 2019 and now currently fights in MMA. He is actually set to make his professional MMA debut this week when he competes at Jorge Masvidal’s iKon Fighting Championship event in Richmond, Virginia on June 3.

His family has more ties to Oklahoma though, which is where 247Sports currently projects Pierce to commit to. In addition to his family being from Oklahoma, Pierce’s mom and grandparents are graduates of the university while he also has a cousin currently attending there. All that being considered, Pierce doesn’t understand why the outlet is predicting Oklahoma as he hasn’t even visited the school yet. Pierce was adamant in saying that his recruitment remains wide open.

“I know it says that, but my recruitment is completely open,” said Pierce. “I don’t know where that comes from. It kind of just came out of nowhere. One place has me at Texas, one place has me at OU, I haven’t even been up to OU yet and they already have that as my No. 1. I’m completely open and no idea yet. I’ll probably make that decision around this time next year.”

It’s Penn State though that is known as linebacker U and not Oklahoma, a fact that wasn’t lost on Pierce. Historically, Penn State has been among the best in producing NFL talent at the linebacker position seeing such greats as Jack Ham, LaVar Arrington and Paul Posluszny.

Recently though, the school has struggled to replicate that success with only Micah Parsons, arguably the NFL’s best linebacker after just his rookie season, being the only notable Penn State linebacker as of late. Pierce could follow Parsons lead and help return Penn State to the linebacker U title it claims.

“That was the first thing I thought of when they did offer me,” said Pierce. “They were telling me about LBU. They’ve had a great history of linebackers from Jack Ham till now with the dude from the Cowboys, Parsons. It’s really crazy they gave me an opportunity and I think it’s really cool. I’m definitely going to consider it. It’s really cool to say that you have that because they are so historic at that position.”

As far as the program currently goes though, Pierce still holds it in high regard. When asked about James Franklin and the current state of Penn State football, Pierce said that he’s heard a lot of great things about the culture and program at the school. He highlighted the team’s success in competing in the Big10 under Franklin, as well as the program’s history and playing in one of the country’s largest stadiums as reasons to be excited about the current state of the program.

If Penn State wants to have a chance though, they may need to have some good fishing holes across the area. Pierce is a big fisherman in his hometown of Lucas. The biggest fish he has caught is a 12-pound bass he caught in sixth-grade in his neighborhood pond. In addition to fishing, Pierce has an interest in engineering and would like to major in civil engineering in college. He credits that to his love of mathematics and days of playing with legos as a kid.

Payton Pierce Fisherman

As stated, Pierce is far from decided on where he wants to play college football starting in 2024. Including Penn State and Oklahoma, he has received 26 offers thus far from Arizona, Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado, Florida State, Illinois, Iowa State, Louisville, LSU, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, North Texas, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, SMU, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.

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