Nittany news and notes: Penn State lands four-star running back, finalist for elite 2025 wide receiver, and more

After losing four-star running back Alvin Henderson to Auburn, James Franklin quickly replaced him in the 2025 recruiting class and added two more weekend commitments. Plus, Penn State is a finalist for an elite 2025 wide receiver.
Penn State head football coach James Franklin
Penn State head football coach James Franklin / Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

Friday was a busy day for Penn State’s 2025 recruiting class. The class took a major hit when four-star running back Alvin Henderson flipped his commitment from the Nittany Lions to stay home and play for Auburn. However, by then James Franklin already had his replacement on campus, and by Saturday, Imhotep Charter four-star running back Jabree Wallace-Coleman announced his intent to head for Happy Valley. 

Wallace-Coleman is considered a four-star recruit by both Rivals and On3. The latter ranks him as the 125th-best player in the entire 2025 recruiting class and he was the 16th player to commit to Penn State in the class. 

The Nittany Lions once again have three running backs committed in the 2025 class after bringing in Quinton Martin Jr. and Corey Smith in 2024. Wallace-Coleman joined Tiqwai Hayes and Kiandre Barker. Once the Lawn Boyz leave for the NFL, competition for snaps at State College will be very stiff. 

Nittany Lions a finalist for Jeff Exinor Jr. elite 2025 wide receiver

Wallace-Coleman wasn’t the only highly-coveted high school recruit on campus this past weekend. Penn State hosted a group of 10 players which included four-star athlete Jeff Exinor Jr. The 6-foot-2 220 220-pound pass catcher from Owings Mills Maryland has been fielding plenty of offers but told Nittany Sports Now that he has narrowed his top three down to Penn State, Virginia Tech, and Maryland. 

Exinor also announced on X that he will be announcing his commitment on Friday, June 28. The oversized receiver could be a bit of a tweener, taking snaps at both tight end and wide receiver, and his physicality makes him an ideal fit in Andy Kotelnicki’s versatile offense. 

More: Penn State lands three-star safety and four-star edge rusher

After attending James Frankln’s football camp on June 2 in Happy Valley, Penn State offered Braswell Thomas, a rising high school senior from Cape May, New Jersey, and within the month he made his decision. Thomas was back on campus this past weekend for his official visit and afterward, the three-star safety committed to play for the Nittany Lions. 

Not long after Thomas’s commitment, four-star edge rusher Cortez Harris announced that he too plans to become a Nittany Lion. Harris was a part of a very fruitful weekend of official visits for Franklin’s coaching staff. 

The 6-foot-2 200-pound edge rusher from Upper Marlboro Maryland was primarily recruited by defensive line coach Deion Barnes. Harris will add some much-needed depth at defensive end, but must add plenty of weight before he can be an effective pass-rusher in the Big Ten.