The Nittany Lions missed on all of the top-of-the-line quarterbacks they offered, but that was to be expected with Drew Allar only a year older. Penn State thought it had identified a diamond in the rough in Marcus Stokes from Florida, but his commitment was short lived with him flipping to Florida over the summer.
Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich bounced back nicely by adding 3-star Jaxon Smolik by flipping him from Tulane. Smolik is considered a late riser and only started to gain Power 5 interest over the summer when he attended the Elite 11. He may not be an Allar type recruit, but Smolik will be a nice project for Yurcich over the next two seasons.
Like with quarterback, it was going to be difficult for Penn State Football to land a 5-star at running back with Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen just a year older. With that in mind, the Nittany Lions did a good job of finding two high upside guys who may not be ready to go from day one and won’t expect touches right away.
That duo was 4-star London Montgomery from Scranton, PA and Cam Wallace from Georgia. The concern with Montgomery is that he is coming off of an ACL injury he suffered in August. It’s unclear if he’ll be ready for the start of the season. Wallace is a speedster but is a raw prospect. While neither looking like day one starters was helpful in getting them to sign, it can be a cause for concern with Singleton and Allen being the only other two scholarship running backs on the roster.
The upside is there, but someone needs to be ready if their name is called upon in 2023.
Penn State signed just one receiver in the 2023 class in 4-star Carmelo Taylor. While the speedy Taylor is an exciting prospect, the fact he was the only one brought in led to Penn State having to find two wide receivers in the transfer portal to help fill losses from the 2022 roster.
The Nittany Lions likely would have added from the portal anyway, but it became a major need with the way things shook out in the recruiting class. Missing on in-state 4-star Rodney Gallagher did not help and it’s fair to wonder how much of an impact this poor showing on the recruiting trail had in the firing of receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield.
Penn State football has become a destination for tight ends in recent years and that continued in 2023. The Nittany Lions landed in-state 4-star Joey Schlaffer early in the process and then flipped 4-star Andrew Rappleyea from Michigan. 4-star athlete Mathias Barnwell was announced as a tight end as well, but it will be interesting to see if he sticks there considering he’s already 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, along with the fact there will be five other scholarship tight ends on the roster in 2023.
Both Schlaffer and Rappleyea finished the cycle as top ten tight ends according to On3. With Brenton Strange off to the NFL and Theo Johnson and Tyler Warren likely to follow after 2023, the Nittany Lions needed to reload at tight end. They did just that with two of the best available and Barnwell as a potential wildcard.
What a haul for Phil Trautwein and company. The Nittany Lions started off by landing 5-star guard Alex Birchmeier two summers ago and never looked back. While Birchmeier did dip into the high 4-star territory, he stayed a top 60 player. Joining him is 5-star swing player Jven Williams from outside of Reading, PA. Williams is considering one of the best offensive line prospects in the country by 247 Sports and On3.
Joining them is lanky 4-star Anthony Donkoh from Virginia and late-riser turned top 200 player in 4-star OT Chimdy Onoh, who signed with the Nittany Lions on Wednesday. This gives Penn State Football four blue-chip offensive line recruits in the 2023 class.
Overall Offensive Grade: B+