Penn State Has Had a July Recruiting Run to Remember

The Nittany Lions have received nine commitments across two classes. And they're not done yet.
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Penn State launched into commitment overdrive in July, receiving pledges from nine players across two classes. The Lions added two of the nation's top running backs, a top edge rusher from Pittsburgh and the rare prospect from Louisiana.

Penn State also restarted its 2023 recruiting class with the nation's top-ranked interior offensive lineman. And the Lions aren't finished; they could add several more commitments before the month ends.

So before the next "quiet period" begins July 28, and Penn State resumes hosting visits, let's recap the month.

Penn State lands two of the nation's top running backs

July was huge for Penn State's offensive future, as the program received commitments from two running backs ranked among the top 10 nationally by 247Sports. Pennsylvania's Nicholas Singleton announced his commitment July 6, followed by IMG Academy's Kaytron Allen 10 days later.

The commitments from Singleton and Allen are reminiscent of Penn State's 2019 class that included Noah Cain and Devyn Ford. Singleton and Allen, like Cain and Ford, are nationally elite, having rushed for more than 6,500 combined yards in high school.

Singleton averaged 15.8 yards per carry at Governor Mifflin High last season. Allen has averaged about 8 yards per carry the past two seasons at IMG Academy, perhaps the nation's most competitive program.

Penn State clearly is selling its offensive plan well to backs. Head coach James Franklin and running backs coach Ja'Juan Seider stress a rotational backfield while also playing the hot-hand strategy. Getting top running backs to understand their roles in an offense is delicate; the Lions' coaching staff seems to be navigating that approach expertly.

Defensive line talent joins the fold

Penn State addressed its defensive line future in July, receiving commitments from three key players: Kaleb Artis, Tyreese Fearbry and Zane Durant.

Artis extended Penn State's recent run of talented defensive commits. A 6-4, 290-pound lineman from St. Francis Prep in Queens, Artis is the No. 2 overall prospect in New York, according to 247Sports. Rivals rates him as a 4-star prospect.

Artis chose Penn State from a long offer list that included Texas A&M, Auburn, Florida State, Texas and Wisconsin, among others. He visited Penn State, Auburn and Virginia in June.

A 4-star prospect according to Rivals, Fearbry is among Pennsylvania's top players. The 6-5 defensive end made five sacks in Perry Traditional Academy's shortened 2020 season and is considered the No. 1 recruit in Pittsburgh's City League, according to Triblive.

Fearbry also continued Penn State's strong in-state recruiting run for the 2022 cycle. The recruiting site 247Sports ranks Fearbry as Pennsylvania's No. 8 overall prospect; five of the top 8 have committed to Penn State.

Fearbry made official visits to Pitt, Kentucky, Auburn and Penn State in June and listed those schools as his top four. Fearbry also received offers from Syracuse, Missouri, Miami and South Carolina, among others.

Durant (6-1, 260 pounds) is a disruptive defensive end at Orlando's Lake Nona High, where he has started since his freshman season. Last year Durant made 15.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks, prompting high praise from Lake Nona head coach Anthony Paradiso.

"Zane is the best player I've ever coached," Paradiso told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. "He’s a generational kid. From day one, his work ethic, his attitude, his preparation, his character set him apart."

Three more talented Penn State commits to watch

A trio of three-star prospects could make significant impacts with the Lions.

Jordan Allen, a defensive back from Louisiana, became Penn State's latest commit July 17. The 5-11, 175-pound Allen earned the nickname "Lockdown" at Lafayette Christian Academy for his exceptional cover skills.

Allen committed to Penn State without visiting in June, in part because of his relationships with the coaches and their specific pitch. In an interview with SI All-American's Matt Ray, Allen called cornerbacks coach Terry Smith key to his decision.

"That is my guy," Allen said of Smith. "He really made me feel like it was home. He told me that I was the number one guy on their board and that I needed to come in early and fight for some playing time. So, I was thinking about that stuff and the reaction I got from him when I committed to him; he was going crazy. He was so happy."

Offensive lineman JB Nelson kicked off the July commitment run, becoming the latest Lion from Lackawanna College.

Nelson (6-6, 310 pounds) recently completed his freshman season at Lackawanna College. The Mt. Lebanon High graduate was considered among the best offensive lineman in western Pennsylvania before joining the roster at Lackawanna College.

Nelson is the second Lackawanna player to commit to Penn State's 2022 class, joining safety Tyrece Mills, who announced his decision in May.

Keon Wylie seeks to become Penn State's next great defensive player from Philadelphia's Imhotep Charter, which is the alma mater of former defensive end Shaka Toney. Washington selected Toney in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Wylie (6-2, 220 pounds) chose Penn State over Kentucky and Pitt, among other schools. He was impressive in Imhotep's five-game spring season, making five sacks in one game against Northeast High. Wylie plays defensive end for Imhotep and projects as an end or outside linebacker in college.

During an interview with CBS Sports HQ, Wylie credited Penn State graduate assistant Deion Barnes for making the big push to recruit him. Wylie spoke with head coach James Franklin and fellow staff members but said that he "connected very well" with Barnes, who has made a significant impact on Penn State's recruiting in Philadelphia.

Virginia lineman restarts the 2023 recruiting class

Alex Birchmeier, a 4-star prospect, per Rivals and 247Sports, is a 6-5, 275-pound interior lineman from Virginia with time and room to grow. According to 247Sports, Birchmeier is the top-ranked overall prospect in Virginia for the 2023 cycle, and also the No. 1 interior lineman in the country.

Birchmeier received offers from more than 30 schools, including Virginia and Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia and Auburn. He no doubt won over Franklin with his wrestling skill as well. As a sophomore, Birchmeier won the Virginia High School League Class 4 heavyweight wrestling title in February.

Birchmeier currently is the lone player committed to Penn State's 2023 class.

The next major recruiting date to watch

Defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton, a 5-star prospect according to Rivals, has scheduled his announcement for July 22. The Maryland native is among the top players nationally at his position and spent June on an enviable college football tour. He visited Penn State, Alabama and Georgia and holds offers from nearly every top program.

A commitment from Dennis-Sutton would serve as a centerpiece of Penn State's strong 2022 class.

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