Penn State Football eyeing strong running back haul

Penn State Nittany Lions running back Noah Cain (Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Penn State Nittany Lions running back Noah Cain (Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /

Running back continues to be a position of strength for James Franklin and Penn State Football recruiting’s efforts, including in the 2022 cycle

Penn State Football’s 2022 class is off to a hot start, and has the makings of one of the best during James Franklin’s tenure.

If it is to rival the top class under Franklin’s belt, 2018, it will have to find success at the running back position.

The Nittany Lions failed to sign a running back in the 2021 cycle, but considering the talent pool in the 2022 class is deeper at the position, it’s not a bad time to have to double down.

The quest for two running backs got some good news this past week when 4-stars Ramon Brown and George Pettaway each included the Nittany Lions in their top group.

In addition to Brown and Pettaway, Nick Singleton, Omarion Hampton, Quinshon Judkins, Damari Alston and Kaytron Allen are other names to know.

Singleton gets talked about the most. He’s a high 4-star and is from Pennsylvania, with Penn State’s success at running back lately, especially with in-state guys, Singleton is close to a must get.

Hampton, Brown and Pettaway are right behind Singleton.

It would be difficult to get mad at Penn State for taking any combination of these four, as they are all talented and just about every powerhouse on the East Coast has interest in them.

Allen, an IMG product, is more of a long shot. The 4-star may want to stay down South, but he’s had communication with the Penn State staff before.

Alston, a 4-star from Georgia, has the largest offer list out of the group with 53 offers, making him one of the most sought-after recruits in the cycle. Although he is ranked slightly lower than the five backs listed above, it would be hard to complain about landing a recruit that has an offer from practically half the country.

Judkins is the lowest ranked out of this group, but the 3-star from Alabama has an impressive offer list. The list includes Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan and Notre Dame. Big time schools want him, and that’s a sign of how good he can be, despite being ranked as the 40th running back in this class.

Ideally, Penn State Football can get Singleton in the fold after his official visit next month. He is scheduled to also visit Alabama, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and possibly Ohio State, the competition is stiff to say the least.

Penn State has done well with Singleton though, and having Saquon Barkley, Miles Sanders and Journey Brown as selling points surely helps. Having Ja’Juan Seider as your running backs coach doesn’t hurt either.

If Singleton is the first domino to fall, that could pressure on one of the other running backs to reserve their spot.

Pettaway and Brown are from Virginia, while Hampton is from North Carolina, meaning one of the common denominators in all their recruitments is North Carolina. Brown left the Tar Heels off of his top seven, despite having an offer.

The other six schools in Brown’s top group are Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, South Carolina and West Virginia. Not push overs by any stretch, but an easier path than the competition for the two other running backs at the top of the board.

Along with North Carolina, Penn State will have to fight off the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Ohio State for Pettaway and Hampton.

Singleton, Pettaway, Hampton, Brown and Alston all have officials set up to Penn State in June. That will be the staff’s chance to close out on at least two of these targets, and for the third time in four years, bring home two 4-star running backs in a recruiting class.

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