Penn State Football Recruiting: Top Ten 2016 Recruits – New Jersey


In the 2015 recruiting cycle, one place that James Franklin and his staff recruited well in is the “Garden State”, better known as New Jersey. In 2016, the state isn’t as stacked as in year’s past but still presents five Penn State major targets. Will Franklin enjoy similar success in New Jersey in the 2016 recruiting cycle as he did in the 2015 recruiting cycle? The question is unanswered now, but will be slowly answered over the course of the next twelve months.

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1. DT Rashan Gary – Parmaus Catholic (Paramus) ★★★★★

The top 247 composite player in the 2016 class and a Penn State target, Gary reigns from the same high school as current Michigan corner Jabrill Peppers. The Wolverines also hired his now former head coach Chris Partridge as the football program’s recruiting director. However, it’s not a lock that the five-star defensive tackle will decide to join the two Paramus natives in Ann Arbor.

The six-foot-four, 285 pound lineman is praised for his athleticism at his size as well as how explosive he could be after the snap of the ball.  Currently, the five-star recruit is predicted to end up with Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa with 60% of his crystal ball predictions trending towards the Crimson Tide. Coming in after the Crimson Tide is Michigan who’s made a surge ever since Patridge was hired by the Wolverines last month, however Michigan has only garnered 28% of the vote. Both Ohio State and Penn State have 4% of his crystal ball predictions, with one vote each.

Wherever Gary ends up, he will be an immediate impact player. There’s also a good chance that his recruiting comes down to next year’s signing day, so don’t expect a decision from the best player in the nation.

2. RB Kareem Walker -De Paul Catholic (Wayne) ★★★★★

The nation’s top running back, Kareem Walker committed to the Ohio State Buckeyes following their victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Though reports are circulating that Walker’s commitment should not be taken as a hard commit and there’s still a chance the Wayne, NJ native may flip to a different school.

Walker’s commitment to the Buckeyes came out of nowhere in the eyes of recruiting analysts as he was predicted to be headed to either Alabama, Penn State, or Rutgers. In the end, it looks as though the six-foot-one, 210 pound running back will be donning the Scarlet and Grey in his collegiate career.

Walker is praised for his speed and athleticism that is already considered to be college ready. At the next level Walker should be a game changer from day one. One thing that coaches and scouts have loved out of Walker is how he doesn’t shy away from getting hit and is willing to go the tough way to find his way to the end zone.

3. ATH Ahmir Mitchell – Cedar Creek (Egg Harbor City) ★★★★

One of the nation’s premier athletes, Mitchell is a complete high school football player who has just the right amount of strength, speed, agility, etc. At six-foot-tow and 190 pounds, Mitchell has the build to become a big play receiver in college.

Currently, Mitchell looks to be headed towards in-state school, Rutgers or possibly joining Kareem Walker at Ohio State. Michigan is also a notable school that will be recruiting the Egg Harbor City product heavily over the course of the summer and his senior year.

4. PRO-QB Jarrett Guarantano – Bergen Catholic (Oradell) ★★★★

The top 2016 quarterback prospect in the state, Guarantano will look to surpass the achievements left behind by rival quarterback Brandon Wimbush, a former Penn State commitment who later flipped to Notre Dame.

Guarantano is already built for the next level at six-foot-three, 195 pounds and will only continue to add weight before enrolling at a school in June of 2016. The four-star quarterback has impressive arm strength as well as accuracy.  He excels at short pass plays thanks to his quick decision making and release point.

Currently, Ohio State and Rutgers are pushing hard for the quarterback. Ohio State brought in Torrence Gibson in their 2015 class so it will be interesting to see how much ‘competition’ will play into Guarantano’s decision. Rutgers would be a popular choice for the quarterback as the Scarlet Knights have struggled to bring in the Garden State’s top talent over the last few recruiting cycles especially in the 2015 calss.

5. WR Cameron Chambers – Timber Creek (Sicklersville) ★★★★

The state’s top wide receiver, Chambers presents a player that has a nice build for a college WR at 6’3 and 195 pounds.

The four-star wideout has been committed to Michigan State since August and remains a hard commitment.

6. ATH Jordan Fuller – Northern Valley Regional High Old Tappan (Westwood) ★★★★

Fuller is the next recruit in New Jersey’s top ten that is a top target for James Franklin and his coaching staff.

Fuller is described by ESPN as ” a versatile prospect who uses his speed to make plays.”. Currently, he plays quarterback in a run-heavy system but also ” Has the speed to outrun defenders once he gets into the open field and shows fluid movements skills. Has the ability to become a CB or slot WR at the next level.”

That being said, the Nittany Lions could use another cornerback in the class of 2016. However it seems as though the four-star Westwood native is very high on UCLA with Rutgers not far behind. In our 2016 recruiting predictions, Dylan has Fuller committing to Rutgers while staff writer Eric Herrold has the West Virginia Mountaineers pulling the four-star out of New Jersey.

7. WR Brad Hawkins – Camden (Camden)  ★★★★ 

The Camden native is one of few junior wide receivers who have the physical size, strength, and talent to play at the next level right now. Listed right now as a WR, Hawkins could easily become a cornerback or safety at the college level thanks to his superb hands. In short, Hawkins is a WR who rarely drops a ball.

Hawkins has received zero interest from Penn State at this current time and appears to be headed to the south as he’s high on both South Carolina and Florida. One team to watch as a dark horse in his recruitment however is the school across the Delaware River in Philadelphia, the Temple Owls.

8. DE Ron Johnson – Camden (Camden) ★★★★ 

A teammate of Hawkins, Johnson is already six-foot-four , 240 pounds as he gears up for his senior season of high school football. The defensive end has been getting offers from various schools of late due to his immense size as well as his explosiveness off the line and his ability to get to the outside on pass rushing. Easily has the capability to be a game changing defensive end at the next level when in the right system.

Johnson has received high interest from Penn State and appears to have mutual interest in possibly wearing the Blue and White one day. Ohio State has also been a major player in Johnson’s recruiting. The defensive end has yet to take a visit to Penn State but should be visiting rather soon potentially for Penn State’s junior day at the end of the month.

9. PRO-QB Sonny Abramson – Pope John XXIII (Sparta) ★★★★

Abramson, a Virginia Cavaliers commit, has decent size for a college quarterback and possess good overall arm strength and accuracy. Still young and with the chance to develop for another season plus a probable redshirt freshman season in college, Abramson presents a player who could develop into quite the quarterback in the ACC. Will definitely be a quarterback to watch as he continues his development.

10. OT Will Fries – Cranford Sr (Cranford, NJ) ★★★

The first three-star on the list, Fries presents an offensive tackle with nice size as he’s already six-foot-six and 270 pounds going into his senior season. He still has to develop his pass rushing to be an above-average offensive tackle at the next level but should be able to develop well over the next year and half before enrolling at a university in June of 2016.

When it comes to Fries’s recruiting, he’s high on both Rutgers and Penn State but could have some more schools coming into the fold within the next few months as he received three offers in the matter of two days earlier this month from Pittsburgh, Miami and Virginia Tech.