Penn State recruiting and the Blue-White game: A look at recent commits and what they mean to the program
The Penn State commit class during the annual Blue-White game at Beaver Stadium on April 22, 2017. Joe Hermitt | firstname.lastname@example.org
Penn State had an up-and-down recruiting weekend for the annual Blue-White spring football game. Two talented offensive linemen gave their verbal commitments to James Franklin in Nana Asiedu and Antwan Reed, but two other prospects opted to de-commit in Micah Parsons and Chris Bleich. When the dust settled, the Lions closed the weekend with the same number of 2018 commitments as they did going in, but lost a big one in Parsons.
The impact of the spring game on Penn State’s recruiting efforts can ebb and flow from one season to the next. Blue-White games have come and gone without commitments, while others have featured multiple new pledges. The game is universally accepted as a positive step forward regardless, giving Franklin and his staff to bring a large number of top targets to campus and surround them with current commits in a gameday atmosphere at Beaver Stadium.
A look at the past five Blue-White games reveals the kind of positive impact that can be made on the recruiting trail and, later, on the PSU program. Here are 11 players who have committed to Penn State either just before, during or after Blue-White weekend since 2013.
Penn State commit Antwan Reed during the annual Blue-White game at Beaver Stadium on April 22, 2017. Joe Hermitt | email@example.com
Reed committed to Penn State just before Saturday’s Blue-White game, joining classmate and fellow offensive lineman Nana Asiedu. The 6-6, 320-pounder is massive and long, and he’s the kind of mauler who could hold down a tackle spot and thrive early as a run blocker. Reed is also nimble for his size and has good enough feet to believe he could stick at left tackle at the next level, too. He is a terrific get for James Franklin coming out of the spring and is the latest in a growing line of top Penn State prospects from Michigan.
What he means: The Lions had a need for a fresh group of talented pure tackles in their 2018 class, and they got a good one in Reed. Penn State has had more success moving interior players to tackle — Ryan Bates, Brendan Mahon, Chasz Wright — but could use more players with prototypical dimensions to develop into contributors. Franklin could end up with no true tackles from his 2017 class depending on the development of Desmond Holmes and Robert Martin, but he gets on the board with two quickly in 2018.
Where he fits: Penn State’s offensive line is as deep and experienced as it has been since a veteran group ushered in Bill O’Brien’s first season 2012. However, one wild card remaining is to monitor the development of Franklin’s top tackle prospects, Will Fries and Sterling Jenkins, to learn when they could be ready for prime time. Reed better projects as a right tackle given his size and skill set and most closely resembles Chasz Wright, who debuted as a guard but thrived at right tackle when his number was called in 2016.