Penn State’s Future Shines with Strong Recruiting
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Regardless of how Penn State ends its season, head coach James Franklin and company are in excellent shape for the future that waits.
The Nittany Lions, who are currently 10-2 and traveling to Indianapolis, Indiana for the Big Ten Championship game, could finish with one of the best 2017 recruiting classes.
Penn State places at No. 20 in the 247 Sports’ and ESPN’s 2017 recruiting class rankings, and No. 21 on Rivals.com. 15 players have pledged to Penn State so far, six of whom are four-star talent and nine three-star prospects.
Last week, Franklin landed three coveted recruits that were committed or being targeted by big schools like Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Florida.
Zack Kuntz, a tight end from Camp Hill, chose to remain in state and commit to Franklin’s 2018 class of newcomers. The 6’7’’ target and No. 1 tight end in the nation received offers from Big Ten rivals Michigan, Ohio State, Maryland and Nebraska, as well.
The following day, four-star defensive tackle Fred Hansard flipped his commitment from Florida to Penn State. The Nittany Lions need help in the trenches of defense and they got their man in Hansard.
Kuntz and Hansard are the first recruits to verbally commit to Penn State since August.
Penn State fans should be excited for the seasons to come in Happy Valley. Franklin is not finished bringing in talent to strengthen the program as he looks to add to his group of talented prospects.
Once the season is concluded, Franklin will be fully entrenched on the recruiting trail hoping to capitalize on his best season yet.
With that being said, here is a brief look at two recruits that could have a major impact on the program, and one top tier player that could commit to Penn State before National Signing Day.
Quarterback Sean Clifford:
Clifford is a pro-style quarterback from Cincinnati, Ohio who gave his commitment to Franklin’s team in July of 2015. 247 Sports ranks Clifford as the seventh best pro-style passer in the nation.
Clifford commands a spread offense at his high school and knows how to be effective as runner, which will bode well for him when he arrives at University Park. He stands at 6’2’’ and possesses a quick release with a great ability to throw on the run.
Clifford has the makings to be a perfect fit for Franklin and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s offense. He will most likely redshirt to preserve his eligibility due to redshirt sophomore Trace McSorley and redshirt freshman Tommy Stevens being the top two at quarterback.
Strong side defensive end Yetur Matos:
Matos is a freak of nature on the field with his size alone. He was a man among boys in high school standing at 6’5’’ and weighing 235 pounds.
His first step is quick and he has polished pass rush moves for a 17-year-old shedding offensive blockers rapidly. In addition to his great technique at the point of attack, Matos shows that he plays until the whistle blows.
The playmaking ability, work ethic and veteran technique makes Matos a valuable asset to the Nittany Lion defense. Matos’ presence is a must have for Penn State as he will help maintain a defensive scheme that prides itself on pressure from the line.
Player yet to commit: weak side defensive end Joshua Kaindoh
If Kaindoh commits to Penn State, the Nittany Lions could possess one of the pass rushing duos in the Big Ten for multiple years with him and Matos pressuring quarterbacks off the edge.
Kaindoh is rated as the No. 2 weak side defensive end in the nation by 247 Sports. On Nov. 28, the Bradenton, Florida native decommitted from the University of Maryland.
He paid a visit to Georgia and head coach Kirby Smart following the reopening of his recruitment, but the Nittany Lions are projected with the best chance to land the monster according to 247 Sports.
Kaindoh is a speed demon off the edge exploding right at the snap of the ball. The kid has great instincts and has unmatchable play recognition.
Kaindoh was seen in his highlight tape stuffing the run, stopping the read option, batting down screen passes and chasing down scrambling quarterbacks.
Zach Seyko is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in communication arts & sciences. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.