The loss of Manny Diaz could cost Penn State a key 2025 four-star recruit

DJ McClary is one of Penn State's most important recruits in the 2025 class, but the New Jersey native could be flipping his commitment to his hometown team. Will Tom Allen be able to keep top Manny Diaz recruits on defense?
Penn State Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Tom Allen
Penn State Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Tom Allen / Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

So far, Penn State’s 2025 high school recruiting class features 12 hard commits and 6-foot-1 linebacker DJ McClary from Jersey City is the highest rated player of the bunch. He committed back on September 24, 2023, just one day after Penn State’s Whiteout win over Iowa 31-0, but is now exploring visits with other programs. 

In his commitment post, McClary stated that he wanted to be, “the next great PSU linebacker.” However, the second person he tagged in his commitment on social media is no longer with the program and that change to the coaching staff is reportedly a driving factor in his recent change of heart.

Manny Diaz orchestrated one of the best defenses in the country over his two years in Happy Valley and many of Penn State’s future recruits had to be excited by the potential of playing for such a talented young coach. Instead, if McClary sticks with his commitment to the Nittany Lions, he’d be playing for Tom Allen. 

Allen, James Franklin’s most recent hire to lead the defensive side of the ball, has an impressive resume, winning 2020 Big Ten Coach of the Year as the head man in Bloomington. However, he failed to consistently recruit talented players to Indiana which eventually led to his downfall. In the case of McClary, Allen’s deficiencies could be rearing their ugly head in Happy Valley for the first time. 

McClary, who over the weekend won the MVP award at the Under Armour Next Series camp in Hackensack, New Jersey, is reportedly expected to visit Rutgers. If Greg Schiano can flip his commitment, it would be a coup for the Scarlet Knights.

Penn State has identified King Mack's replacement. Penn State has identified King Mack's replacement. dark. Next