Penn State Football Recruiting Roundup July 7, 2016

Oct 17, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin in the third quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State defeated Penn State 38-10. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 17, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin in the third quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State defeated Penn State 38-10. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports /

Welcome back to my weekly look at Penn State Football recruiting here at Victory Bell Rings with my weekly Penn State Football recruiting round up.

It is that time of the week again. What time you ask? Well, time for my weekly Penn State Football recruiting roundup here at Victory Bell Rings of course!

This week’s roundup will cover a variety of topics. However, it does not paint the rosiest of pictures for Penn State football recruiting. Right now, the Nittany Lions are in a major rut and have zero momentum on the recruiting trail. It is a combination of producing back-to-back 7-6 seasons and lots of negative recruiting by other coaches. Penn State needs the season to get here and to put an improved product on the field, and badly.

The Opening Finals

The biggest news in the world of college football recruiting this week is The Opening Finals taking place in Oregon. Penn State quarterback commit Sean Clifford is competing at The Opening, as are many other Penn State Football targets. Those targets include cornerback Lamont Wade, running back D’Andre Swift, safety Derrek Pitts, and wide receivers KJ Hamler and Mark Webb.

You can check out some highlights of Clifford competing in the Elite 11 portion of The Opening Finals around the three-minute mark of this video. As he always does, Clifford has impressed at The Opening thus far. He has shown good arm strength, pinpoint accuracy, and has thrown well while on the run.

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Clifford is also on the same seven-on-seven team as Wade is this week. So, this will give one of Penn State Football’s best recruiters, Clifford, to play with and be in Wade’s ear all week. Seeing as Wade is already a Penn State lean, this can only help. I would also expect Clifford to be working on Penn State’s other targets who are at The Opening.

As for the other Penn State targets participating at The Opening, here is where things appear to stand. Earlier this week both D’Andre Swift and Mark Webb announced they plan to commit before their senior seasons. Well, this is bad news for the Nittany Lions. I have said all along that with an improved offense I believed the Nittany Lions would land both. However, if both do indeed announce before the season, I expect them to commit to Georgia.

That said, the coaching staff will not stop recruiting. And if the offense does improve this season, the Nittany Lions might be able to get back into the equation. Especially if Georgia struggles, which they very well may.

KJ Hamler’s recruitment is an interesting one. He has a top three of Michigan State, Penn Sate, and Oregon, in that order. Hamler will be transferring to IMG Academy this fall which will make it more difficult for him to visit Penn State, but also will make it more difficult to visit Michigan State. I expect the Nittany Lions to get an official visit this fall, and for the Nittany Lions to be in it until the end with Hamler.

As for Derrek Pitts and Lamont Wade, things are more optimistic. Both players will attend next weekend’s Lasch Bash recruiting BBQ, and both might currently have Penn State as their top school. I know that Wade has Penn State as his top school, and Pitts at worst has them in his top three.

Matt Dotson Chooses Michigan State

Four-star tight end Matt Dotson announced his commitment to Michigan State while at The Opening. After a visit to Penn State in May the Nittany Lions appeared to lead for Dotson. Unfortunately, a recent visit to Michigan State seems to have changed things.

Matt Dotson appeared to be trending big time toward Michigan State the past few days, so its’ no surprise that he committed to the Spartans.

This is a tough pill to swallow for Penn State Football coaches and fans, as the Nittany Lions appeared to have Dotson in the bag as recently as a week or two ago. Luckily, tight end is not a major need for Penn State in this class.

Lasch Bash

Next weekend is arguably the biggest recruiting weekend of the calendar year for Penn State Football, the Lasch Bash. The Lasch Bash is a recruiting BBQ held by James Franklin and his staff each summer. Over 100 class of 2017, 2018, and 2019 prospects will be on campus for the bash next weekend.

The Lasch Bash has always been good to Penn State in the past. Last year, linebackers Cameron Brown and Shaka Toney committed at the Lasch Bash. At this year’s Lasch Bash, there will certainly be some prospects on commit watch. Hopefully, the Nittany Lions can net a commit or two and help to begin to build some momentum back up.

That will do it for this week. Penn State recruiting is currently stuck in a heck of a rut, hopefully that will begin to change with next weekend’s Lasch Bash BBQ. But make no doubts about it, watching players Penn State once led for such as Matt Dotson and Robert Hainsey commit elsewhere this week stung.

As always, stay tuned here at Victory Bell Rings for all of the latest news in the world of Penn State Football recruiting.