Big day for Penn State
Penn State football is just 17 days away from officially opening camp on Monday, July 31. The preseason hype is at an all-time high for the Nittany Lions after an 11-3 campaign and Big Ten Championship last season.
Today marks a very important day for the future of the Penn State program, as head coach James Franklin hosts all of the Nittany Lions top recruiting targets at the annual "Lasch Bash BBQ."
So far, Penn State has 15 commitments in class of 2018.
2018 verbal commitments
(* Players are listed with their position, high school, height, weight, and ESPN ranking:)
Justin Shorter (WR, Monmouth Junction, NJ) - 6-4, 213 (5-star, ESPN No. 2 WR, ESPN No. 14 overall)
Ricky Slade (RB, Woodbridge, VA) - 5-9, 185 (4-star, ESPN No. 2 RB, ESPN No. 17 overall)
Nana Asiedu (OT, Stafford, VA) - 6-6, 251 (4-star, ESPN No. 13 OT, ESPN No. 130 overall)
Dorian Hardy (DE, Paramus, NJ) - 6-5, 246 (4-star, ESPN No. 18 DE, ESPN No. 156 overall)
Jesse Luketa (OLB, Erie PA) - 6-3, 242 (4-star, ESPN No. 6 OLB, ESPN No. 192 overall)
Antwan Reed (OT, Muskegon, MI) - 6-6, 326 (4-star, ESPN No. 20 OT, ESPN No. 252 overall)
Zack Kuntz (TE, Camp Hill, PA) - 6-8, 221 (4-star, ESPN No. 6 TE-Y, ESPN No. 272 overall)
Pat Freiermuth (TE, North Andover, MA) - 6-5, 248 (4-star, ESPN No. 7 TE-Y, ESPN 279 overall)
Trent Gordon (CB, Manvel, TX) - 5-11, 172 (4-star, ESPN No. 34 CB)
Jordan Miner (CB, Wesley Chapel, FL) - 6-1, 168 (4-star, ESPN No. 42 CB)
Nick Tarburton (ILB, Perkasie, PA) - 6-4, 242 (4-star, ESPN No. 14 ILB)
Bryce Effner (OT, Aurora, IL) - 6-5, 281 (3-star, ESPN No. 49 OT)
Isaiah Humphries (S, Sachse, TX) - 5-11, 191 (3-star, ESPN No. 31 S)
Charlie Katshir (OLB, Mechanicsburg, PA) - 6-2, 195 (3-star, ESPN No. 51 OLB)
Judge Culpepper (DT, Tampa, FL) 6-4, 256 (3-star, 247 Sports No. 14 DT, ESPN No. 13 DT)
Per ESPN, Penn State has the fifth-ranked recruiting class in the country for 2018. The Lasch Bash offers a chance for the Penn State coaches to show off the best that the campus and facilities has to offer for the student athletes.
It's not unusual for the Nittany Lions to come away with a commitment or two after the Lasch Bash, so let's take a look at who may give Coach Franklin his pledge this weekend.
According to various media outlets (PennLive, 247Sports) and information on social media, this is who will be in attendance in State College this weekend:
Justin Shorter, Ricky Slade, Nana Asiedu, Dorian Hardy, Jesse Luketa, Antwan Reed, Zack Kuntz, Pat Freiermuth, Trent Gordon, Nick Tarburton, Bryce Effner, Isaiah Humphries, Charlie Katshir
S - Kwantel Raines (Aliquippa, PA, Four-star, ESPN No. 18 S, ESPN No. 215 overall)
S - Isheem Young (Philadelphia, PA, Four-star, ESPN No. 14 S, ESPN No. 170 overall)
WR - Shaquon Anderson-Butts (Harrisburg, PA, Four-star, ESPN No. 48 WR, ESPN No. 300 overall)
WR - Daniel George (Oxon Hill, MD, Four-star, ESPN No. 45 WR, ESPN 290 overall)
OT - TJ Bradley (Scranton, PA, Lackawanna College)
OT - Rasheed Walker (Waldorf, MD, Four-star, ESPN No. 14 OT, ESPN No. 159 overall)
DE - Tyreke Smith (Cleveland Heights, OH, Four-star, ESPN No. 16 DE, ESPN No. 152 overall)
DE - Jayson Oweh (Blairstown, NJ, Four-star, ESPN No. 40 DE)
DT - Aeneas Hawkins (Cincinnati, OH, Four-star, ESPN No. 25 DT)
DT - PJ Mustipher (Owings, MD, Four-star, ESPN No. 12 DT, ESPN No. 190 overall)
Picking up commitments from the wide receiver duo of Shaquon Anderson-Butts and Daniel George would be a another step in the right direction for the Penn State offense. Penn State has just one wide receiver committed now in Shorter, so adding two or three more is possible.
Anderson-Butts potential commitment has a little extra karma attached to it. Many people believe him and Micah Parsons are a package deal. If Franklin can get Anderson-Butts, you may see Parsons with the Nittany Lions.
Isheem Young and Kwantel Raines would be a nice one-two punch at safety. Young shot the video for his commitment this week at his "commitment pool party" and he's set to announce his choice publicly on Tuesday. It would be a surprise to many if he didn't commit to Penn State. Raines will make his decision in October, but looks to be a Pitt lean at the moment, as most Aliquippa players usually are. But if he is impressed at State College and chooses the blue and white, it would be a huge get for Franklin.
Defensive tackles Aeneas Hawkins and P.J. Mustipher could solidify a defensive tackle class that already has Judge Culpepper from Florida. Culpepper committed on Friday, and it's widely anticipated that Mustipher will leave State College committed as well. Cincinnati is the current favorite to land Hawkins.
Tyreke Smith and Jayson Oweh are going to be players that Penn State will have to work really hard for. Smith is almost a lock for Ohio State, but Oweh seems to be leaning toward Penn State. According to PennLive.com, Notre Dame and Ohio State are coming after him aggressively, so Franklin will surely have to take advantage of having him in town this weekend.
Rasheed Walker would add depth and could provide a nice tackle combination with Nana Asiedu in the future for the Nittany Lions. Walker has been high on Penn State from the beginning and the consensus is that he will pick Penn State over Ohio State and Maryland.
A name to watch out for is three-star quarterback Will Levis. Per PennLive.com, Levis worked out for the Nittany Lions staff at their camp at the Lasch Building last night. Penn State has been scrambling to find a replacement for Justin Fields once he de-committed and Levis could end up with an offer if he impresses.
Levis is a big kid at 6-4 220 pounds and threw for 1,972 yards with 19 touchdowns and just five interceptions at Xavier High School in Middletown, Connecticut as a junior.