Penn State football’s most important 2025 recruiting targets

James Franklin is hesitant to overspend in the transfer portal to correct recruiting mistakes, so landing these three high school targets will be crucial for the Nittany Lions to build a College Football Playoff contender.
BC #0 Quincy Porter
BC #0 Quincy Porter / Mandatory Credit: Michael Karas-The
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We’re under 100 days until the kickoff of Penn State’s season opener in Morgantown West Virginia, but until we have real games to talk about, stadium construction and roster construction have filled the offseason discourse. Penn State is pouring $700 million into Beaver Stadium, but how much will James Franklin dump into his 2025 high school recruiting class to stay competitive in the new-look Big Ten? 

The Nittany Lions have not had the same fundraising success as programs like Ohio State and Oregon, so Franklin will need to be shrewd about how he allocates his NIL resources. Penn State has already locked down commitments from 13 players including four-star linebacker DJ McClary and running back Alvin Henderson who project as key contributors a few years down the line. 

Still, Franklin and his coordinators Andy Kotelnicki and Tom Allen are not done piecing together the 2025 class and with whatever resources they have remaining, they need to prioritize these three players who will fill key holes on the roster for the short and long term. 

3. Malik Washington. . 6'4" 200 lbs. player. . 491. Severn, MD. Malik Washington, QB. Malik Washington, QB

Penn State was in the mix for the No. 1 quarterback in the 2025 class, Bryce Underwood before he committed to LSU, so the Nittany Lions needed to recalibrate. Then, four-star Matt Zollers committed to Missouri and the situation started to become more dire. 

Three-star Bekkem Kritza has been committed to the Nittany Lions for a while, and Ethan Grunkemeyer could be the future starter, but Franklin needs to add more talent at the position and Washington is a great fit for Kotelnicki’s offense. 

Washington is a natural thrower from the pocket and has the size to withstand big hits. While he’d rather stay put with good protection, Washington has the athleticism to scramble and throw off-platform or beat defenders downfield with his long strides. Kotelnicki’s offense thrived at Kansas by utilizing the speed of Jalon Daniels and Jason Bean, and Drew Allar, Grunkemeyer, and Krtiza all lack that dynamic element. 

Quarterback isn’t a position of desperate need, but if Grunkemeyer isn’t a fit for the system after Allar’s career is over, then Franklin could regret missing on a player like Washington who has drawn heavy interest from Maryland, Syracuse, UCF, and Virginia Tech.