It has been awhile since we last looked in on the status of the Penn State Class of 2014. Michael O’Connor brought the class to 11 commitments with his decision a little over a week ago, leaving precious few spots (almost certainly just 4) remaining. So where does O’Brien go from here? With a class that is already heavy on skill, it would stand to reason that the focus will be in the trenches, likely on the defensive side. Here’s our best guess at who the staff is targeting to fill those spots.
- DT Thomas Holley – The big tackle from Brooklyn is probably the biggest target left on the Lions’ big board, and with good reason. He’s the top player in New York, one of the top 10 defensive tackles in the country, and top 100 players overall. Holley is very high on Larry Johnson, and the Lions’ history of putting defensive lineman in the league will help as well. But, no decision is imminent, and the likes of Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame also pursing Thomas hard, don’t count on anything here.
- DT Ricky Walker – Ricky is one of the top players in talent rich Virginia, and has Penn State firmly in his top 5-6 schools, along with Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Boston College, and Maryland. Like Holley, Walker likely won’t be making a decision anytime soon.
- DT Derrick Nnadi – Derrick is another Virginia prospect, ranked by 247 as the 6th best player in the state. Penn State is in good shape, but again goes up against heavy hitters like Ohio State, Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Michigan State, who join the Lions among his favorites. As with Holley and Walker, Larry Johnson will play a key role.
- DB Troy Vincent Jr. – PSU is still in very good shape with Troy, but he has made some additional visits to a number of southern schools (Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina) in the last few days. I am not reading too much into those visits, as PSU is still a strong leader according to everyone in the know.
- DB Montae Nicholson – The Gateway High School star could be one of the top players in the state this year. If Thomas Holley isn’t the top player left on Penn State’s big board, it’s Montae. He can play either safety or corner, although his size (6-3, 200 lbs) trends more towards safety. The 247 Crystal Ball heavily favors Michigan, but this is another recruitment that is likely to go into the fall.
- DB Dravon Henry – Penn State has been in Dravon’s well known top 4, along with Ohio State, West Virgnia, and Pitt for quite some time. The Aliquippa native was initially thought to be favoring the Panthers, as so many Aliquippa stars have, but has dropped hints he may not be the lock he was once thought to be. Of all the players listed, Henry could be the most likely to end up in Happy Valley.
These are by no means the only players left on the Lions’ board, but with the available slots dwindling, the staff is going to be very picky about who they keep their offers open to.
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