Blue White Illustrated

January 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

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J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 2 5 5 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M P enn State has inked a top-10 class in the On3 Consensus team rankings. The Nittany Lions' 23 signees in the 2022 class are split evenly between of- fense and defense. They represent multi- ple states and include a number of highly rated prospects and some others who, if history is any guide, will go on to outper- form their rankings. Here's a look at several superlatives in Penn State's latest batch of signees: HEAD OF THE CLASS Drew Allar is the leading man for Penn State this year. The five-star quarterback from Medina, Ohio, is No. 24 overall and No. 2 at his position in the On3 Consensus rankings. He is the top passer in the cycle per On3's own rankings. MOST IMPRESSIVE GET For me, this is an easy pick. It's not often that Penn State beats out Alabama and Georgia for a prospect, so this title goes to defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton. It's true that the Lions had an edge here in that Dennis-Sutton attends Mc- Donogh High in Maryland, which has been something of a feeder program for PSU. But the coaches still had to close the deal, and they did. TOTAL COMMITMENT This honor, which goes annually to the player who committed the earliest and stuck by his choice, goes to one of the top prospects in the class. Four-star receiver Kaden Saunders of Westerville, Ohio, picked PSU on July 25, 2020. He "locked in" that choice in May 2021 as other programs continued to try to flip him. Saunders never wavered once. SIGNING DAY SURPRISE Andre Roye committed somewhat out of the blue to Penn State back in September. He decommitted in a similar fashion. The three-star offensive lineman from Baltimore was announced Dec. 15 as a Maryland signee. He decided late in the process to stay in his home state despite never actually decommitting from the Nittany Lions. Instead, he just sent his letter of intent to the Terps. That happens from time to time and is never ideal. But it's also not the end of the world from PSU's perspective. Now, the Lions have an extra scholarship in hand heading into February. HIGHLIGHT REEL SIGNEE There are a number of plausible candidates for this honor. My pick is running back Nick Singleton. The On3 Consensus five-star prospect can do a little bit of everything, as he showed throughout a terrific prep career at the Pennsylvania Class 5A level. Now, he's off to Penn State, where he could become an open- ing-day starter. ROAD GRADER We'll side with Lacka- wanna College guard JB Nelson here. He is a possible instant-impact contribu- tor after doing some nice work with the Falcons. Making the jump from junior college to the Big Ten isn't easy, but keep an eye on Nelson. He may have that capability. SIGNED AND SEALED Kaytron Allen is a four-star running back who plays at IMG Academy in Florida. Penn State run- ning backs coach Ja'Juan Seider said that many schools tried to flip him, but he didn't waver and signed as expected. LEAD RECRUITERS It was another good year for Penn State on the trail. My picks are the recruiting coordinators, Taylor Stubblefield on offense and Terry Smith on defense. Stubblefield led the effort to sign a tre- mendous group of receivers and played a role with others on that side of the ball. Smith did a lot of work in Philadelphia, Texas and elsewhere to help put together a first-rate defensive class. These two led the way for the Lions in this cycle. We'll also give a peer recruiter shout- out here to four-star Philadelphia end Ken Talley. His name came up a lot when talking to his future teammates as a glue guy in the class. ONE TO WATCH Lackawanna College safety Tyrece Mills did not sign with Penn State on Dec. 15. He still has classes to finish at Lackawanna this spring. MOST UNDERRATED The pick on of- fense is Tyler Johnson. A three-star receiver from Ridgeway, Va., Johnson has tremendous athleticism and was slept on throughout the recruiting process. That won't be the case after the receiver spends some time in State College. Defensively, we'll go with three-star linebacker Keon Wylie out of Imhotep Charter in Philadelphia. He's a tremen- dous defender who will become a factor for new coordinator Manny Diaz. INSTANT-IMPACT PLAYER Alex Bac- chetta has every chance to come in and win the punting job. On offense, don't be shocked if Singleton takes the starting job and runs with it next fall. ■ Other schools tried to convince him to change his mind, but receiver Kaden Saunders of Westerville, Ohio, held to his Penn State commitment for 17 months and signed with the Lions in December. PHOTO BY RYAN SNYDER SIGNING DAY SUPERLATIVES Impact players, top recruiters, Nittany Lion loyalists and a last-minute surprise G R E G P I C K E L | G P I C 9 2 @ G M A I L . C O M

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