Penn State's 2022 Recruiting Class Keeps Getting Better

Dani Dennis-Sutton, one of the nation's top defensive linemen, enriches an already stacked group.
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Dani Dennis-Sutton, one of the nation's top-ranked defensive linemen, committed to Penn State on Thursday, enriching an already stacked 2022 recruiting class.

Dennis-Sutton announced his decision on CBS Sports HQ.

"I just in their process," Dennis-Sutton said in his interview. "I trust in coach [James] Franklin, I trust in [defensive line] coach John Scott, and I trust that they're going to believe in me and put me in a position to be a first-round draft pick. But if that doesn't happen, I believe that they're going to put me in the best position outside of football as well."

Penn State won a national recruiting battle for Dennis-Sutton, the No. 1 recruit from Maryland, according to 247Sports. Dennis-Sutton received offers from nearly every major SEC program and had narrowed his list to Penn State, Alabama and Georgia, all of which he visited in June. At Alabama, Dennis-Sutton took photos with the national championship trophy.

But among the factors that helped steer Dennis-Sutton to Penn State was the program's long-standing relationship with McDonogh High, the Owings Mills, Md., school where he will be a senior. Penn State coach James Franklin has made McDonogh a recruiting priority, signing three other defensive players from the school in recent years.

Returning starter PJ Mustipher (defensive tackle), projected starter Curtis Jacobs (linebacker) and defensive tackle Dvon Ellies all are McDonogh graduates. So is Kenny Sanders, Penn State's national recruiting coordinator.

"You know, I think we got a little pipeline going, and I'm happy to say I kind of started that," Mustipher, a junior, said this past spring.

Dennis-Sutton (6-5, 250 pounds) is a game-changing defensive lineman who hasn't been playing football for too long. Like former Penn State standout Odafe Oweh, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, Dennis-Sutton began playing football later in his career.

But Dennis-Sutton, who is from Delaware, has made a seamless transition from basketball to becoming a dominant football player in a short time. He had a strong sophomore season in 2019 but did not play in 2020 after McDonogh's season was canceled.

"This will be Dani’s third year playing organized football ever,” McDonogh coach Hakeem Sule told the Baltimore Sun in 2020. “So, you’re taking an athlete and a guy who’s really a basketball player and teaching him the defensive end position.

"If you look at his film, what you’re seeing is a progression in the last two years of him mastering his craft and learning how to play. A guy with his size and relentless effort to get to the ball, that presents a lot of problems for opposing teams."

Dennis-Sutton, at No. 50, is the highest-rated player in Penn State's 2022 recruiting class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He is the third player in the top 100 to commit to the Lions' 2022 class, joining running back Nicholas Singleton (No. 72) and receiver Kaden Saunders (No. 86).

Penn State has 21 players committed to its 2022 recruiting class; nine have announced their decisions in July alone. The group began July ranked No. 4 in SI All-American's national rankings.

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