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Penn State Football Recruiting

Penn State Recruiting: McDonough’s Joseph Buchanan III ‘Very Familiar’ With Program’s PSU Pipeline

Photo by Chase Mellerson: Joseph Buchanan III

Joseph Buchanan III plays for a high school that Penn State fans should recognize.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Class of 2027 defensive end started his high school career at Baltimore’s St. Frances Academy.

Starting this coming season, he’ll be staying in Baltimore County but playing at the McDonough School, which has housed multiple current and former Penn State players.

Past PSU players PJ Mustipher and Curtis Jacobs played there. On the current team, Dani Dennis-Sutton— projected to start and star at defensive end in 2024– along with Dvon Ellies and Mason Robinson— all played at McDonough.

Although Buchanan hasn’t been part of the McDonough family for long, he knows about the Penn State pipeline.

“I’m very familiar,” Buchanan told Nittany Sports Now last week.

In the summer after his seventh grade season— Buchanan had received his first DI offer from Boston College while in the eight grade— he visited different high schools deciding on which one to pick.

McDonough was one of them.

“At the time, Mason Robinson was still there,”Buchanan said, “and they were just kind of telling me he played for the same youth organization as I did, he went to McDonough and he was going to Penn State. So, with that being said, they went down everybody that went to Penn State from McDonough.”

Fast forward almost a year, and Robinson himself has Penn State’s attention.

In a series of offseason workouts Buchanan described as a “mini Pro Day,” Penn State’s defensive recruiting coordinator, Terry Smith, was there to film Buchanan’s reps. Penn State’s defensive line coach, Deion Barnes, then studied the reps.

Barnes liked what he saw and also liked what Buchanan put on tape as a true freshman at St. Frances.

After the workout, McDonough’s head coach, Hakeem Sule, texted Buchanan.

He gave him Barnes’ number and told him to reach out, since NCAA rules prohibit college coaches from contacting underclassmen.

Buchanan called Barnes, who promptly told him the good news.

Buchanan also has offers from Boston College, Maryland and Syracuse, and this one brought a unique type of thrill.

“There was definitely an excitement, definitely a joy,” he said. “Just seeing the top guys, even guys that I know going there, going through the pipeline, being great so it was definitely a special excitement because I know guys that go up there, I know guys that dominate and I’ve heard of guys who dominate and I’ve watched those guys as well.”

One guy Buchanan’s heard of that recently wrapped up his Penn State career is Chop Robinson.

Robinson, a Gaithersburg, Maryland, native, who played at Quince Orchard, became a star EDGE for Penn State and went to the Dolphins in the first round of last month’s draft.

One of Buchanan’s favorite NFL players is Micah Parsons, who was a linebacker at Penn State but, in the pros, has become one of the league’s best defenders at EDGE for the Cowboys.

So how would Buchanan describe himself as a player?

For one, his build makes him look older than his early-teenage age, and people are surprised when they find out how old he is.

“Pfftt always,” he said. “Yeah, I get the same reaction. At a track meet one time, a guy asked for my ID. So it definitely can get wild with the age thing.”

Buchanan sees this as a positive.

“Yes, sir,” he said. “Definitely. So, a lot of guys I know have to get to high school and gain the weight. But me, I came into high school with the right weight. So now, it’s just about maintaining it, getting as lean as possible and everything like that. So, it’s definitely a compliment to be able to see that I look older physically. Now, it’s just time to lean up and really be one of the top guys.”

Buchanan, who lists himself as an outside linebacker in addition to an EDGE, described himself as versatile.

“I have speed I don’t think we’ve seen yet,” he said, “honestly, at my size. I think that’s the big difference. I know a lot of guys are really fast. But I just think we haven’t seen the speed at my size, so I’m definitely ready to showcase it.”

Buchanan doesn’t have a summer visit schedule planned out yet but said Barnes recommend he visit Penn State for a camp in June.

Buchanan would also like to go to Beaver Stadium in the fall, where the place shines.

“The first thing I think about when I think of Penn State is the White Out,” he said. “That environment is crazy. I’m a big energy guy, so I definitely enjoy crazy environments like that. Penn State has always been one of my top (schools) when it comes to the environment. So that’s the first thing I think of when it comes to Happy Valley.”

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