Penn State football: Which recruit from early signing day will make the biggest impact next season?

The Nittany Lions don't dip heavily into the transfer portal, so the 2024 recruiting class will need to make an impact next season to get Penn State into the College Football Playoff.

McDowell High School offensive lineman Cooper Cousins blocks for quarterback
McDowell High School offensive lineman Cooper Cousins blocks for quarterback / GREG WOHLFORD/ERIE TIMES-NEWS / USA
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PSU Recruits Smith. 4-star. Milwaukee, WI. RB. 491. . . Corey Smith. Corey Smith. player

This recruiting cycle was reminiscent of the 2022 class when Penn State signed five-star Nick Singleton and four-star Kaytron Allen. This time, it was two four-star running backs, Quinton Martin from Belle Vernon, PA, and Corey Smith from Waukesha, WI. 

Martin is the higher-rated recruit and has a more college-ready body at 6-foot-2 200 pounds, but he’s a traditional running back very much in the mold of Singelton and Allen. There’s not much reason to give Martin carries over the Lawn Boyz in his true freshman season, however, Smith may find his way onto the field. 

Smith is a change-of-pace, gadget player at 5-foot-7 170 pounds. I mean, the first play on his highlight tape is a pop-pass jet sweep that he takes to the house with his breakaway speed. 

Andy Kotelnicki loves to get creative as a play-caller and routinely drew up gadget plays at Kansas last season. That outside-the-box mindset produced 24 run plays over 20+ yards for Kansas in 2023, which ranked 13th in the country. Penn State, despite having two of the best running backs in the country only ranked 65th with 15. 

Smith can be a home run hitter out of the backfield but also has tons of talent as a pass catcher. He’ll find ways onto the field and is exactly the type of player that Penn State’s offense needs.