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Penn State Football Recruiting

Penn State Football Recruiting: A Breakdown of the 5 ’25 Commits

James Franklin during pregame warmups. (Photo by Matt Lynch, Nittany Sports Now)

In recruiting news, Penn State football got its third, fourth and fifth commits of the 2025 recruiting cycle within a 72 hour period in late September.

With those three now in the fold, here’s an updated breakdown of Penn State’s 2025 recruiting class thus far, going from highest-rated to lowest-rated, per 247Sports.


Commitment Date: Sept. 24

After the team’a 31-0 White Out demolition of Iowa Saturday night, Penn State has a commitment from four-star linebacker DJ McClary.

McClary is a top 100 player in this year’s recruiting class and a big get for Penn State football. He’s ranked No. 100 on the dot in 247Sports composite ratings, which also have him as the No. 3 player in New Jersey and the No. 12 linebacker in the country. If McClary signs, he’ll be joining the “Linebacker U” lineage.


Commitment Date: Sept. 26

O’Hara’s a four-star recruit from North Catholic. He’s capable of playing defensive end and tight end, but the plan is for the 6-foot-6, 245-pounder to play left tackle in college.

O’Hara hasn’t played left tackle yet, but he told Pittsburgh Sports Now’s Logan Carney earlier this month that this is where PSU wants him to play.

“The more I think about, at first, I didn’t want to do it,” said O’Hara. “But when looking at things in a long-distance sense, if they make me a beast then I’ll play left tackle.”

“The more I think about, at first, I didn’t want to do it,” said O’Hara. “But when looking at things in a long-distance sense, if they make me a beast then I’ll play left tackle.”


Commitment Date: April 15

This past Blue-White weekend was a good one for Penn State football, and the good vibes continued Sunday when four-star Class of 2025 running back Barker announced his commitment.

Barker, listed at 5-foot-11 and 183 pounds, is the No. 23 tailback in the 2025 Class and the No. 42 overall player in Texas, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

He’ll be playing his upperclassman years at The Woodlands School in Houston after playing his first two years at Beebe High School in Arkansas.

Nittany Sports Now spoke with Barker that Saturday night before he made his commitment public Sunday afternoon. Barker described himself to NSN as a “hard runner” who is fast and capable of making big plays but also not afraid to lower the boom on a defender.

As for why he picked Penn State, Barker cited the school’s running back lineage, as well as his relationship with Penn State’s coaching staff, especially running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider, assistant running backs coach Charles Walker and, of course, head coach James Franklin.

“They showed me love,” Barker told Nittany Sports Now the night before he committed, “and then they gave me my first big offer when I was in my freshman year and kept a mutual relationship ever since then.

“And from having the visit there and showing us the love that they showed us, it felt like it was the right thing to do.”


Commitment Date: Sept. 25

Hayes is the second WPIAL running back to commit to Penn State out of the two upcoming recruiting classes. The first is Penn State’s highest-rated commit of the ‘24 Class: Belle Vernon’s Quinton Martin. Both Martin and Hayes are listed as running backs but are capable of playing other positions as well. Hayes had three interceptions for Aliquippa last season.

But make no mistake; he’s made his biggest impact in the run game. Last year, Hayes gained 2,011 yards rushing and scored 33 touchdowns. As a freshman, he gained 1,720 yards and scored 23 touchdowns.


Commitment Date: March 28

Penn State’s second ‘25 commit came in March with Gaines, an Adidas Freshman All-American from Malcom X Shabazz High School in Newark, New Jersey.

Gaines announced the commitment via Twitter Tuesday, March 28.

Penn State offered Gaines last April. Gaines also has offers from Boston College, Delaware State, Duke, Ole Miss, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and West Virginia.

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