Not only did Penn State win on Saturday to secure its tenth win and their spot in the Big Ten Championship, but it also started a spree of recruiting success that should continue up until signing day.
Before Saturday’s game even started, James Franklin had a big victory when he reeled in the top tight end in the 2018 recruiting class in Zack Kuntz. Kuntz, from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania is a consensus 5 star and comes in at 6’7.5 and 218 pounds, that’s one big target. Kuntz, who had offers from Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Pitt, Tennessee, amongst others, decided to stay home and play for the Nittany Lions. Penn State was long considered the favorite for the in-state target, but Notre Dame and Alabama had been coming on strong, Kuntz also has interest in Stanford, but they are yet to offer. After watching Gesicki this season, I can see why he wants to come to Penn State. Kuntz is the fifth commit in Penn State’s loaded 2018 class which ranks fourth nationally according to 247 Sports.
The next commit came a day later when Franklin was able to flip 2017 4 star DT Fred Hansard from Florida. Hansard, who is from Princeton, New Jersey had been committed to the Gators since August, but constant contact from the PSU staff and Saturday’s visit was enough for the 4 star to change his mind. Coming in at 6’3 310 pounds, the senior held 30 offers which included Alabama, Georgia, Miami, Michigan,Ohio State, Ole Miss, Pitt,Tennessee, Texas A&m, USC, and of course Florida. Hansard is a big get for the Nittany Lions who have surprisingly struggled recruiting defensive tackles. Fred is the fifteenth commit in the 2017 class which now ranks 20th according to 247.
Penn State is currently working on flipping two Maryland commits in 5 star DE Josh Kaindoh and 4 star DT Cam Spence. Kaindoh was a Nittany Lion lean early in his recruitment, but chose the Terps back in April, following Spence who was pretty much down to the Nittany Lions and Maryland. With another mediocre season from Maryland, while Penn State is 10-2, Franklin is hoping to flip the duo. Kaindoh was on campus Saturday and is reportedly debating a decommitment, although Maryland is working hard to keep their prized recruit. Penn State has started trending for the defensive end in the cyrstal ball, and many are expecting a flip this week. Spence, who also made an offical visit this weekend after he wasn’t expected to, may be harder to pull away from Maryland as he would like to stay close to home, both are Maryland natives, but if the Nittany Lions can pull in Kaindoh, that may make things interesting. Penn State freshman Shane Simmons is getting involved trying to get Kaindoh to join him in Happy Valley. Stay tuned for this one.
Penn State also hosted one of the top corner backs in the country in 4 star Ambry Thomas. Thomas, from Detroit, Michigan, is considered to be leaning towards Michigan, with Michigan State also in play. The Nittany Lions are working to become a serious contender for the speedy corner back’s services, and this weekend’s visit should have helped that cause. Thomas tweeted Sunday night that he has an anouncement planned for Monday at 3:30PM so we’ll keep an eye on that, but right now I still believe he will stay in the state of Michigan.
Drew Singleton was not on campus this weekend, but he did take notice to Penn State’s recruiting success, via Twitter. Hansard tweeted at Singleton telling him and Spence to be next to commit. Singleton is from Paramus Catholic in New Jersey and has visited Penn State in the past, but they are not considered contenders in his recruitment. The 4 star seems to be a heavy Michigan lean with Clemson also in the mix, but it’ll be interesting to see if Hansard can get a fellow New Jersey native to join him in Happy Valley.
2019 Recruit has “Great Visit”
2019 prospect Cody Ross was present for Saturday’s win, and tells me he had a great time, saying,
” The visit was great, the atmosphere was eletric, and they treated us first class. It was an honor to be invited, now I see why a lot of players choose playing at Penn State, or have them at the top of their list, it’s a great place to play football and get a quality education.”
Ross, an in-state prospect who attends Freedom High School, is actually neighbors with legendary Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny, fitting enough, he also plays linebacker. Cody had an impressive sophomore campaign in which he had 95 solo tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, and a pick. The standout sophomore was named to the Top 22 MAC All Conference, he was the only sophomore to receive the honor.
Ross was able to speak with both coach Moorehead, who he really likes, and coach Terry Smith during his visit. The rising sophomore tells me Penn State is one of his top choices so far in his recruitment, there is a lot of time left in his recruitment, and I expect multiple schools to start to show interest. Penn State’s early interest should definitely help their chances with this class of 2019 standout.
James Franklin and his staff have done a tremendous job on the field this year, and it’s starting to lead to more success on the recruiting trail. Stay tuned as Penn State heads towards a conference championship and some big recruiting feats.