Nana Asiedu another example of Penn State’s new and improved recruiting machine: Hockensmith’s take
Exactly three months ago, Penn State lost a commitment from four-star 2017 linebacker recruit Dylan Rivers.
Rivers flipped to Virginia Tech late in the cycle on Jan. 22, 2017, and put coach James Franklin in a bind. The Lions weren’t flush with linebacker options and they had just two weeks to fill the void. The whole sequence could have spelled trouble at a position of great importance in Franklin’s 2017 recruiting class.
Then, Ellis Brooks happened.
More precisely, Franklin made it happen for Brooks, a four-star linebacker from Benedictine (Va.) High School. Penn State offered Brooks Jan. 27, got a commitment from him three days later and signed him Feb. 1.
Just like that, the Lions lost one talented linebacker in Rivers and got another in Brooks who, according to some recruiting services, is an even better prospect.
Instead of exploring Plan B or C options, Franklin targeted an upgrade from Brooks and landed him. He went on to snare two more Plan A players on National Signing Day in three-star New Jersey defensive tackle Corey Bolds and four-star Maryland corner Tariq Castro-Fields.
The flip-and-upgrade maneuver with Brooks was a new feeling after Penn State limped to the finish line in the 2016 recruiting cycle. The Lions turned a corner with their Big Ten championship season and Rose Bowl appearance, and the results just started to show on the recruiting trail.
Fast forward to Saturday, and Penn State showed its might again.
One day after four-star offensive tackle Chris Bleich de-committed and reopened his recruitment, marking Penn State’s first lost pledge in a class that ranks No. 2 in the country, Franklin landed a commitment from four-star offensive tackle Nana Asiedu.
Bleich is a fine player in his own right, but Asiedu has it all.
The North Stafford (Va.) product is long and agile at 6-6 and 270 pounds with the power and athleticism to forecast him as a multi-year impact starter at left tackle. Where Bleich checks in as the 35 offensive tackle in the country and No. 438 player overall, according to the 247Sports composite rankings, Asiedu ranks No. 9 at his position and No. 82 nationally.
Asiedu is a tremendous addition to a loaded 2018 recruiting class and the first offensive lineman. Penn State has a need for true offensive tackles in this class and gets one of the best pure prospects at the position. Like any prep offensive lineman, Asiedu requires projection, but his ceiling is off the charts.
The Lions out-dueled Clemson, Florida State, Michigan, Georgia and a host of other elite programs for Asiedu.
These are the same programs in play for a growing number of high-profile Penn State targets. But those schools are no longer working with an advantage. They have a new peer in Penn State, which looks like it’s just getting started with its success on the field and on the recruiting trail.
De-commitments and losses will happen in the world of elite recruiting.
In Asiedu, Penn State has proven again it belongs by turning the loss of Bleich into an even bigger win.