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Penn State Football Recruiting

‘I’m Not a 3-Star Player, I’m a 5-Star Player’ Says New Penn State Commit Cortez Harris

Cortez Harris
Courtesy Cortez Harris

It was another productive weekend for Penn State football recruiting as James Franklin and company secured commitments from a trio of highly rated prospects including running back Jabree Wallace-Coleman, safety Braswell Thomas and EDGE Cortez Harris, a talented defensive end from Maryland.

Harris was the first commitment from a Maryland player in the 2025 cycle. But he’s following in some big footprints.

At the NFL Draft in April, Penn State produced a first-round pick when Gaithersburg, Maryland native Chop Robinson was selected by the Los Angeles Rams.

Now, the Nittany Lions are hoping that Harris can develop into the next Chop Robinson.

Following making his decision public, Nittany Sports Now spoke with Harris about his decision and a couple things were very clear: head coach James Franklin made a huge impact on Harris and Harris did his homework and didn’t rush into this decision, as he talked with a number of current Nittany Lions players.

“Coaches are always going to try and sell you, no matter what from any school,” said Harris. “But, after I had the chance to talk with and spend time with the players on Penn State, especially from the ones that are from where I’m at in Maryland. Guys that got offers from Maryland, Bama and others, they told me that Penn State was the best decision that they ever made. I took that to heart. They were guys I knew, and these young guys that weren’t going to lie to me. Plus, the coaches, especially Coach James Franklin. He was talking to me and telling me some really good stuff. He’s someone that really, really cares about his players.”

One of the reasons Harris has this opinion about Franklin is because he had the fortune of talking with former Penn State great and current Philadelphia Eagles running back Saquon Barkley, who was in State College over the weekend.

Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg (14) hands off to Saquon Barkley (26) during the second quarter of the Nittany Lions game with No.1 Ohio State. The Buckeyes won, 38-10, in a Big Ten football contest Saturday night in Ohio Stadium on Oct. 17, 2015.
Photo by Mark Selders

“He had some amazing things to say about his relationship with Coach Frank,” said Harris. “We all know how Saquon has had to battle through injuries during his career, Coach Frank always called to check on him. Saquon told me that he talked with other pros in the league from Bama, Georgia, those type programs. Those players said they never got those type calls that he got from Coach Frank. I took that to heart too.”

The excitement that Harris had in his voice was real and he wasn’t lacking for confidence when I asked him about the type of player that Penn State just added.

“A real baller. Don’t let the rankings lie to you, watch my film. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m not a 3-star player, I’m a 5-star player. Ask any O-line that ever played against me. That’s all I’m going to say.”

“All the players told me that Coach Deion (Barnes) is really good,” said Harris. “That’s what I really need, and I can’t wait to play for him. He’s not going to sugarcoat nothing; he’s going to coach you hard but love you harder. That’s what I need.”

With these weekend additions, Penn State football recruiting is now up to No. 7 in the latest Rivals 2025 Team Recruiting Rankings.

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