Blue White Illustrated

March 2024

Penn State Sports Magazine

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2 2 M A R C H 2 0 2 4 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M / / / / / / / T H E C L A S S O F 2 0 2 4 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / P enn State signed a 25-man recruit- ing class in December and didn't make any additions during the tradi- tional signing day in February. Placing 16th in the On3 Industry Team Rank- ing, the class is balanced, with nearly an even split between offensive and defen- sive prospects. "If you look at our class, it's pretty well-rounded," Penn State coach James Franklin said in December. "We were re- ally able to fill needs at every position." With that in mind, let's take a deeper dive with a rundown of superlatives for the class of 2024. HEAD OF THE CLASS: The pick here is an easy one. It's five-star offen- sive lineman Cooper Cousins of Erie, Pa., the longest-tenured Nittany Lion commitment in this cycle and a fre- quent campus visitor during the two years leading up to his signing. Cousins was known for his peer-to- peer pitches aimed at convincing un- committed prospects that Penn State was the best fit for them. The 6-foot-6, 319-pound prospect is the No. 27 overall prospect and No. 1 interior offensive lineman nationally, per On3. MOST IMPRESSIVE GET: Let's go with four-star prospect Quinton Martin Jr. of Belle Vernon, Pa. Although he's listed as a running back on Penn State's spring roster, Martin could also excel as a pass catcher at the college level. That versatility appealed to many big-time schools. Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State and Notre Dame, among others, all extended scholarship offers, but Martin chose the Lions in April 2023 and never wavered. Listed as the nation's No. 98 overall prospect in the On3 Industry Ranking, Martin appears to be the most likely candidate for early playing time in Penn State's 2024 class. TOTAL COMMITMENT: Cousins committed to Penn State on Jan. 29, 2022. He was the lone member of PSU's class until three-star Pittsburgh line- backer Anthony Speca joined him on Jan. 17, 2023. Cousins is a leader of the class, and he has an admirer in On3 director of scout- ing and rankings Charles Power. "I'm a big fan of the steadiness and the sturdiness that he brings to the inte- rior offensive line," Power told BWI. "He has some of the best senior film along the interior that we've seen this year. If we're looking at pure center pros- pects — if he's still considered a center by Penn State — he's probably the best center prospect in the cycle. "I say that because he also has the po- sition versatility, including the size, to play multiple spots along the offensive line. He's been a steady stock-up guy as a senior." SIGNING DAY SURPRISE: It was a surprise that there were no signing day Offensive lineman Cooper Cousins of Erie, Pa., received a five-star grade from On3's scouts and is the highest-rated player in Penn State's class, checking in at No. 27 in the nation overall and No. 1 among interior offensive linemen. PHOTO BY THOMAS FRANK CARR Signing Day Superlatives Assessing Penn State's accomplishments in the 2024 recruiting cycle GR E G P IC K E L | G R E G . P I C K E L @ O N 3 .C O M

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