Blue White Illustrated

March 2024

Penn State Sports Magazine

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5 6 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 A t the end of February 2023, Penn S ta te 's 2 024 re c r u i t i n g c l a ss needed a lot of work. The Nittany Lions held just two commitments at the time, with offensive lineman Cooper Cousins and linebacker Anthony Speca being the only two prospects pledged to PSU. Two commitments in March and eight more in April changed that out- look quickly, but this year's winter surge already has Penn State's 2025 class on a different level. Following offensive tackle Owen Aliciene's announcement in January, the Nittany Lions rattled off four more commitments in February to bring the total up to a dozen players already. The class is basically halfway done before spring practice visits start in mid-March. Head coach James Franklin and his staff will try to build on that momentum in March and April. When you look to the future, there's a good chance they'll be able to do that, too. Pennsylvania alone features a few players who could be close to making their decisions, including two of the na- tion's best at their position: quarterback Matt Zollers and offensive lineman Mi- chael Carroll. Despite already holding a commit- ment from three-star Colorado quar- terback Bekkem Kritza, the Nittany Lions have made Zollers, who plays at Spring-Ford High in Royersford, a ma- jor priority. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound signal- caller saw his offer sheet lengthen con- siderably in January, with 13 new schools offering in just a few weeks, bringing his count to 20 total. Even with so many schools bombarding him in a short pe- riod of time, Zollers quickly announced his top four on Feb. 6. Penn State, Geor- gia, Missouri and Pitt all made the cut and should receive at least one more visit apiece before he decides this spring. Zollers' six visits to State College are by far the most he's made to any school, but it should be noted that his brother is a walk-on freshman at Pitt. When you also consider that the two SEC schools have aggressive NIL collectives that will pay serious money for quarterback prospects, it won't be easy for the Nit- tany Lions to earn his signature. Nationally, Zollers is one of just four uncommitted 2025 quarterbacks who hold a four-star rating from On3. Consequently, the four schools on his short list seem to be all-in on Zollers, who's ranked No. 17 nationally and No. 3 among quarterbacks by On3. As for Carroll, the Doylestown native and Central Bucks East prospect has also been on campus six times so far. That's double the number of trips he's taken to any other school, but the Nit- tany Lions have a fight on their hands with one of their Big Ten rivals. "Michigan and Penn State are both re- ally pushing hard," the 6-6, 300-pound Carroll said in January. Earlier in the recruiting cycle, Car- roll said his plan was to use his official visits in June and then decide afterward. However, in recent weeks the four-star prospect expressed an interest in wrap- ping up his recruitment this spring if he feels ready. "I feel a lot of pressure right now with schools trying to get me. So, if it's right and I get that feeling, I might commit in the spring," said Carroll, who is rated 69th nationally and third among inte- rior offensive linemen. Another Keystone State native to keep an eye on is tight end Andrew Olesh. Nittany Lions Aim To Keep Adding To 2025 Class RYAN SNYDER | RYA N . S N Y D E R @ O N 3 . C O M FOOTBALL RECRUITING Penn State is in a four-way battle for four-star quarterback Matt Zollers. In addition to the Nittany Lions, the Royersford (Pa.) Spring-Ford prospect is mulling offers from Georgia, Missouri and Pitt. PHOTO BY RYAN SNYDER

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