Blue White Illustrated

Maryland Pregame

Penn State Sports Magazine

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N O V E M B E R 2 2 , 2 0 1 7 B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M 16 which would give him the opportunity to play a role similar to that of Ryan Buch- holz, who has seen action both at strong- side defensive end and the three-technique tackle position. The 6-3, 260-pound Hawkins is rated by Rivals as the 18th-best three-tech- nique tackle in the country. Like Culpepper, he could add 20 to 30 pounds once he ar- rives at Penn State without losing any of his lateral quickness. At 285 to 290 pounds, he would be remi- niscent of Kevin Givens, an- other versatile lineman who has played end and tackle. Mustipher is rated by Rivals as the sev- enth-best defensive tackle prospect in the country. I believe he'll play at between 300 and 305 pounds at Penn State, which would mean he could fit in at either the three- or one-technique tackle spots. At 292 pounds already, he has the potential to make Penn State's three-deep depth chart as a freshman next year. That brings us to the defensive end po- sition. Here I believe Penn State has a le- gitimate chance to land three of the top 10 ends in the country. Those players are: Micah Parsons of Harrisburg, Pa.; Tyreke Smith of Cleveland Heights, Ohio; and Jayson Oweh of Blairstown, N.J. Smith and Oweh are both four-star players, while Parsons has received five stars from Rivals. Parsons is ranked as the No. 1 weakside defensive end in the country for the Class of 2018. He's a good enough pure athlete to play running back, tight end, defensive end or linebacker at the college level, and there's been some talk that he could end up being a two-way player wherever he goes. Parsons is set to announce his deci- sion on Dec. 20. Smith is ranked by Rivals as the fifth- best strongside defensive end in the country. He's listed at 6-5, 255 pounds, and that lanky frame means that he probably could add another 20 pounds. He has only been playing organized foot- ball for about a year and a half, so his true potential is only beginning to emerge. Smith will announce his college decision at the Under Armour High School All-America Game on Jan. 4. Here again, I believe Penn State is the team to beat. Oweh is ranked by Rivals as the ninth- best strongside defensive end in the country. Like Smith, he's a football novice who is only just starting to show his po- tential. At a Penn State summer camp in July, he ran a hand-timed 4.46-second 40-yard dash and also turned in a stand- ing broad jump of 10 feet, 3 inches. Oweh plans to announce his college decision at the Under Armour game in early January. He is considering Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan, and he was on hand in Beaver Stadium for the Nebraska game. If Penn State is lucky enough to land Parsons, Smith and Oweh, I would have to say that it will finish with one of the top two defensive line classes in the country for the Class of 2018. The biggest factor preventing the Nittany Lions from ac- complishing that goal is the limited num- ber of scholarships they have leB. There is also a possibility that Penn State will have a similar type of result with its offensive line class. The Lions have received verbal commitments from four offensive linemen to date: Nada Asiedu of Stafford, Va.; Bryce Effner of Aurora, Ill.; Antwan Reed of Muskegon, Mich.; and Juice Scruggs of Erie, Pa. Asiedu, Reed and Scruggs are all four-star prospects, while Effner has received three stars from Rivals. Asiedu is ranked by Rivals as the 10th- best offensive tackle prospect in the country for the Class of 2018, while Effner is 37th on that list. I believe that Effner, who is capable of playing guard or tackle, is one of the more underrated players in Penn State's class and might be the best offensive line prospect in the Chicago area and quite possibly all of Illinois in the up- coming class. Reed is ranked as the 17th- best overall offensive tackle in the country, and Scruggs is listed as the 14th- best guard. Scuggs also is ranked by other recruiting services as one of the top three center prospects nationally. If Penn State can find a way to land four-star tackle Rasheed Walker of Wal- dorf, Md., it could find itself with one of the top five offensive line classes in the country. In addition to the Nittany Lions, Walker is reportedly considering Virginia Tech, Maryland, Clemson and Ohio State. He will most likely take an official visit to Penn State in December and announce his college decision at the U.S. Army All- American Bowl on Jan. 6. Culpepper (left) vis- ited Penn State with high school teammate Will Putnam. Culpep- per is the 21st-ranked strongside defensive end in the country ac- cording to Photo courtesy of Put- nam family

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