STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Expect plenty of golf carts whipping around the Penn State football facility this month as coaches and staffers play host to recruits and campers.
From June 4 through June 24, Penn State will hold 10 prospect camps (some days have multiple camps) and the door to the facility will almost always be open as official visitors and their families make the trip to town, too. During the impressionable 48 hours of an official visit, it’s all hands on deck as the recruiting department, coaches, player hosts and football interns try to help shape the future of the Nittany Lions. There are plenty of opportunities to do so in June, as every weekend this month will include several official visitors.
Last June was extra busy because it was the first time prospects were allowed back inside facilities since the start of the pandemic in 2020. This June may not be quite as hectic, but the next two months are still critical for all college football teams.
Here’s what I’ll be keeping an eye out for this month on the recruiting trail:
Official visit weekends
Penn State will have tons of talent on campus this month as it tries to keep adding to the 2023 class. DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) defensive lineman
BREAKING: Four-Star DL Jason Moore is down to 5️⃣ Schools, he tells @On3Recruits
The 6’6 265 DL from Fort Washington, MD is ranked as a Top 40 Player in the ‘23 Class (#5 DL)
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— Hayes Fawcett (@Hayesfawcett3) May 13, 2022
For many 2023 prospects and their families, this is what June is all about. How Penn State differentiates itself during those 48 hours is critical. Last summer at Penn State, as detailed by The Athletic, there were brunches at the arboretum and dinners in the stadium and in the Bryce Jordan Center. There was a pool party at a mansion just outside of town, tons of food at all hours of the day and night and a presentation from James Franklin. As always, get ready for loads of recruit photoshoot content to be popping up on social media timelines, as no official visit weekend is complete without it.
There will be a lot of talent on campus this month, and though not everyone will be taking official visits and schedules are bound to change, here are some notable official visitors who are slated to be here:
- Jaylon Braxton, four-star cornerback at Lone Star High School in Frisco, Texas
Luke Evans, three-star cornerback at Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Hollywood, Fla.
- DaKaari Nelson, four-star safety at Selma High School in Selma, Ala.
- Treyaun Webb, four-star running back at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Fla.
- Kadyn Proctor, five-star offensive tackle (No. 7 player nationally) at Southeast Polk high school in Pleasant Hill, Iowa. The Penn State visit is sandwiched between official visits to Alabama and Oregon
- Tony Rojas, four-star linebacker at Fairfax high school in Fairfax, Virginia. Rojas returns after attending the Blue-White game. He’s also taking officials to Clemson, Miami and Georgia this month
- Ta’Mere Robinson, four-star edge at Brashear High School in Pittsburgh. Robinson was at Penn State’s spring game and is expected to take an official visit to Miami June 3.
- Ja’Keem Jackson, three-star cornerback at Osceola High School in Kissimmee, Fla.
- King Mack, four-star safety at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
- London Montgomery, three-star running back at Scranton (Pa.) Prep
- Zechariah Owens, four-star offensive tackle at Eagle’s Landing Christian in Mcdonough, Georgia. Owens was also at the Blue-White game.
- Daniel Harris, four-star cornerback at Gulliver Prep in Miami, Fla. He’s expected to also take officials to Michigan, Ohio State and Georgia this month.
- Dee Crayton, four-star linebacker at Denmark High School in Alpharetta, Ga.
- Cameron Seldon, four-star wide receiver from Northumberland High School in Heathsville, Va.
- Anthony Evans, three-star wide receiver at Judson High School in Converse, Texas. Evans will also take officials to Oklahoma and Georgia this month.
- Kenny Johnson, three-star wide receiver from Dallastown Area High School in Dallastown, Pa.
- Carmelo Taylor, three-star wide receiver at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, Va.
Passing the eye test
For the first time since the summer of 2019, prospect camps will be open to the media. During camps, a staff gets its own measurements and can evaluate prospects. Also important is seeing how the player interacts and takes to the staff’s coaching. Penn State typically wants a player to attend a camp before it will extend a scholarship offer. Seeing how prospects do in a competitive environment is a key part of the evaluation process.
New scholarship offers will start going out as early as this weekend, and Penn State inevitably will back off its recruitment of some other players based on their camp performance. Want to know who is impressing during these camps? Follow the golf cart and see where the head coach is headed and who is getting pulled aside during drills.
Camps are also a chance for Penn State’s verbally committed players to work out and learn from this staff. Last summer, quarterback Drew Allar spent an afternoon throwing for and getting pointers from offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. This weekend, 2023 quarterback commit Marcus Stokes plans to do the same.
— Marcus “JOKER” Stokes🃏🥷 (@marcusstokes06) June 1, 2022
Stokes verbally committed to Penn State in April, and every time the Florida prospect is back on campus it’s a good sign for Penn State. Stokes’ recruitment continued to take off after his Penn State offer. Though he’s firmly committed, the distance here won’t make it easy on the Nittany Lions if Stokes’ stock continues to rise. But jumpstarting his learning and development with his future offensive coordinator will be important.
Expect to be learning much more about 2024 and 2025 prospects this month, as camp evaluations start to help the staff solidify its recruiting boards for the coming cycles.
The numbers game
Penn State has 12 players verbally committed in the 2023 class, which ranks No. 3 in the 247Sports Composite, and one in 2024 (offensive lineman Cooper Cousins). The Nittany Lions’ 2022 class picked up one verbal commitment last June, and then in July all the visits and looking around in the previous month showed up in a big way, as 11 players verbally committed.
Look for Penn State to add to both classes in the next two months, as many 2023 players will want to finalize their college choice before their senior season starts. While Penn State’s 2023 class is already crowded at a few positions (tight end, quarterback and offensive linemen, though it’ll still take more), it still needs a running back, another receiver or two, a few linebackers, a few more defensive backs and, as always, premier defensive linemen. With many defensive backs and receivers taking official visits, Penn State can’t sign everyone, so at some point someone will feel strongly enough to claim a spot and then the other dominos will fall.
(Photo: Randy Litzinger / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)