Blue White Illustrated

May 2023

Penn State Sports Magazine

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M A Y 2 0 2 3 5 9 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M T ight end Luke Reynolds of Cheshire (Conn.) Academy came to Penn State in March hoping to catch the Nittany Lions' attention. He departed with an of- fer in hand, and just one week later he became a part of coach James Franklin's 2024 recruiting class. Reynolds, a three-star prospect ac- cording to On3, committed to Penn State on March 23. He said he was thrilled to join the Nittany Lions' growing class, calling their offer "an important one." "It's a well-known program with a lot of history," he said. "I'm definitely excited." Reynolds is the No. 47 tight end nation- ally in the On3 Industry Ranking, which takes into account the ratings of other major recruiting networks. On3's own scouts have listed him 33rd. Those ratings are a reflection of his po- tential, because the 6-foot-4, 215-pound prospect doesn't actually have a substan- tial resume at the tight end position yet. He has seen action primarily at quarter- back to this point in his career and will transition to tight end this coming season. Reynolds impressed Penn State tight ends coach Ty Howle while on campus last summer for a camp. He had attended the camp as a quarterback, but his size hinted that there was a position change in his future. Reynolds showed good ath- leticism, running a 4.6-second 40-yard dash that day while broad jumping just under 10 feet. While there's limited tape of him play- ing the tight end position, he moved up the Nittany Lions' board after the end of his junior year. Howle and Reynolds spent plenty of time around one another during the prospect's visit in March. "Coach Howle and I have been in con- tact for a few months at this point, so we've built a strong relationship," Reyn- olds said. "I enjoyed being able to see how he treats and coaches up his tight ends." Franklin was the one who delivered the news of the offer to Reynolds while they were meeting in the coach's office. "Coach Franklin has done a great job with the program," Reynolds said. "He's an honest coach who is all-in for his play- ers to succeed." Penn State has a track record of tak- ing high school quarterbacks and turn- ing them into college tight ends. Tyler Warren, who will be a fourth-year junior this coming fall, was a full-time quarter- back at Atlee High in Virginia, while 2023 signee Joey Schlaffer played the position in a part-time role at Exeter (Pa.) High. Reynolds picked up scholarship of- fers along the way from Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Pitt, Stanford, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. He also visited Wisconsin for a game in November. ■ Penn State secured its tight end for the class of 2024 in three-star athlete Luke Reynolds. The former quarterback will play tight end in college and chose Penn State early in the process before his stock truly took off. Here's a look at what the Nittany Lions are getting: STRENGTHS Body control/hands: Reynolds is a natural re- ceiver. He doesn't fight the ball in the air; he tracks it well and adjusts at the catch point. It's too early to say whether he has good hands, because the information is lacking, but his body control in jump- ball and contested-catch scenarios already is an evident strength. Running after the catch: The projection here is a bit steep because we're basing this assessment partially on his ability to escape from the pocket as a quarterback. However, Reynolds shows enough wiggle as a receiver that it's reasonably safe to as- sume he'll be good after the catch. Athleticism: Reynolds has good body awareness in space and decent short-area quickness. He also has good speed, having run a 4.6-second 40-yard dash. AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT Route running: Reynolds has good potential here and shows it occasionally, but it's not a pri- mary skill. Instead, his ability to stop and start quickly gets him by in most situations The good news is that he's moving to tight end full-time this fall and can get a jump start on the transition to the position. Run blocking: There's nothing on tape of Reyn- olds lining up and blocking. While we won't assume he's a poor blocker just because we haven't seen him do it, we will be looking for it this fall. PROJECTION H-back: Without having seen him block from a three-point stance, it's hard to predict whether Reynolds can play a traditional inline role. There's plenty of evidence that he can, but he looks like another great H-back prospect right now. He can line up in the slot, be attached to the line in the backfield and run other positionally diverse sets. With his composite skill set, he's a dark horse who can outplay his recruiting rankings after an adjust- ment period. — Thomas Frank Carr P L A Y E R E V A L U A T I O N Connecticut Prospect Looks To Make A Smooth Transition S E A N F I T Z | S E A N. F I T Z @ O N 3 . C O M COMMITMENT PROFILE LUKE REYNOLDS Reynolds is new to the tight end position but was gar- nering attention from a growing assortment of Power Five schools when he committed to Penn State in March. PHOTO BY RYAN SNYDER

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