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Breaking down Penn State’s early 2019 recruiting class | Penn State Football

A quick look at each of the current Penn State Class of 2019 recruits:

Hakeem Beamon

School: Manchester HS (Va.)

Projected position: Defensive tackle

Ranking: Four stars by 247sports and ESPN; three stars by

Strength: High-motor edge rusher who didn’t rely on one signature move to beat linemen.

Question: At 6-foot-3 and 259, he played defensive end in high school. Will he be able to stick there, or should Penn State move him inside?

Projection: He’ll move inside to start his career and can add some weight and strength to play the run. He’ll be a handful inside for guards because of his quickness.

JaQuan Brisker

School: Lackawanna College

Projected position: Safety

Strength: He’s physical against the run game, a willing combatant at the second level. He actually had eight sacks this season, which shows his ability and willingness as a pass rusher.

Question: How will he fare, man-to-man, down the field against wideouts in the pass game at the big-time college level?

Projection: Brisker can give Penn State something it has sorely lacked the last few seasons: A safety who can play near the line of scrimmage who is also adept at forcing the offense to turn the ball over.

Noah Cain

School: IMG Academy (Fla.)

Projected position: Running back

Ranking: Four stars by, 247sports and ESPN.

Strength: Cain takes the handoff looking for contact, and he won’t shy away from it if it comes to getting a few extra yards. He finishes off runs.

Question: Is he a chain-mover or a game-breaker?

Projection: Cain is so much different in style than what Penn State already has at running back. At worst a pile mover right out of the chute, he has the potential to be so much more if he can develop the second and third gear.

Lance Dixon

School: West Bloomfield (Mich.) HS

Projected position: Weakside linebacker

Ranking: Four stars by and 247sports, Three stars by ESPN

Strength: Plays tough and physical and has the strength to be a factor early if the coaching staff needs to play him. Plus, he can develop into a fine pass defender.

Question: Can he improve his tackling technique enough, not to mention add ample bulk and strength, to stick as a linebacker?

Projection: Responsibilities of Penn State weakside linebacker position will maximize his ability to show off his versatility as a pass defender and potential as a run stopper.

John Dunmore

School: Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Fla.)

Projected position: Receiver

Ranking: Four stars by, 247sports and ESPN.

Strength: His hands are soft, and fundamentally, he never seems to waver from the “right way” to bring in the football.

Question: Can he develop the second gear he’ll need to pull away from corners and become a true game-breaking threat?

Projection: Dunmore has a pretty high ceiling as a receiver, but he also might have the highest floor among any offensive players Penn State brought in with this recruiting class. Difficult to picture him not being at least serviceable.

Keaton Ellis

School: State College High School

Projected position: Cornerback

Ranking: Four stars by 247sports, three stars by and ESPN

Strength: Ideal height for a cornerback and has been a game-breaker as a punt returner for State High.

Question: Can he hold up against some of the power running games in the Big Ten?

Projection: Penn State will have opportunities for playing time at corner next year, and Ellis is a good bet to be green-lighted from the get-go.

Devyn Ford

School: North Stafford (Va.) HS

Projected position: Running back

Strength: Brings impressive vision and physicality to every run; can run between the tackles and isn’t afraid to mix it up with linebackers.

Question: Will he be able to develop elite, top-level speed?

Projection: Suddenly packed running back position at Penn State gets a prospect who can compete for early playing time.

Adisa Isaac

School: Canarsie HS (N.Y.)

Projected position: Defensive end

Ranking: Four stars by, 247sports and ESPN

Strength: He’s so strong, he overpowers tackles. He’s quick enough off the ball that he doesn’t allow them to get any kind of lower-body leverage.

Question: Will he be more than just a guy who can come in and rush the passer, or can he develop into an effective run stopper as well?

Projection: Isaac can be a real force in the Big Ten as he matures and gets bigger and stronger, and players with this type of explosion off the edge don’t come around often.

Michael Johnson Jr.

School: Sheldon HS (Ore.)

Projected position: Quarterback

Ranking: Four stars by, 247sports and ESPN

Strength: Big, fast player who can sling the ball from the pocket, make plays on the run, keep his eyes down the field and chuck the ball all around the yard.

Question: Will some mechanical issues be a concern throughout his career?

Projection: Johnson is arguably the most athletic quarterback Penn State has been able to land in a decade, if not more.

Joey Porter Jr.

School: North Allegheny HS

Projected position: Cornerback

Ranking: Four stars by 247Sports and ESPN; Three stars by

Strength: Prototypical size, and always seems to be in the right place, playing with proper technique.

Question: He isn’t a punishing tackler, so can be effective against the run?

Projection: Some think he’ll be a safety, but he looks like a cornerback, sees the field like a cornerback and has the confidence to play on the island.

Ta’Quan Roberson

School: DePaul Catholic High School (N.J.)

Projected position: Quarterback

Ranking: Four stars by, 247sports and ESPN

Strength: Roberson’s skill set appears to be a perfect fit for what the Nittany Lions have been doing on offense with Trace McSorley standing in the shotgun.

Question: Can he clean up some mechanical issues to make his release quicker?

Projection: There’s something about him, and he plays with a grit that has served the position well at Penn State over the years. A winner.

Tyler Rudolph

School: St. Thomas More (Conn.)

Projected position: Safety

Ranking: Four stars by and 247sports; Three stars by ESPN

Strength: A physical specimen, especially for a player who can hang at cornerback and be an effective, confident player.

Question: Does his body type and frame lend to him sticking long-term at cornerback?

Projection: A tremendous high school corner who could convert to safety or, with a few years of work in the weight room, be a pretty good linebacker, too. He’s that good, and that versatile.

Brandon Smith

School: Louisa County (Va.) HS

Projected position: Middle linebacker

Ranking: Five stars by 247sports; Four stars by and ESPN

Strength: Punishing hitter who has tremendous instincts and is able to flow through obstacles sideline to sideline to get to the ball.

Question: How much does he need to learn from a pass coverage perspective?

Projection: He’ll be in the running to compete for the starting middle linebacker spot in the fall, especially considering his plans to enroll early and participate in spring practice.

Brenton Strange

School: Parkersburg (WV) HS

Projected position: Tight end

Ranking: Four stars by and 247sports; Three stars by ESPN

Strength: He sees the ball well once it’s in the air and makes terrific adjustments to poorly thrown passes.

Question: Will he become a good enough blocker to crack what is looking like a really good tight end rotation?

Projection: He shows off a lot of skill catching the ball, but he played more of a receiver spot in high school, which means he still needs to learn how to block well enough to become a complete tight end.

Caedan Wallace

School: The Hun School of Princeton (N.J.)

Projected position: Guard

Strength: Wallace is a first-guy-off-the-bus type of figure. He’s built like an imposing offensive lineman, and he plays with that attitude.

Question: Can he overcome some technique issues and improve his footwork enough to play relatively early?

Projection: It’s conceivable he’ll see some immediate time as a freshman next fall for the Nittany Lions, especially when there will be a focus on running the ball.

Anthony Whigan

School: Lackawanna College

Projected position: Offensive tackle/guard

Ranking: Four stars by, 247sports and ESPN

Strength: A punishing finisher. He’ll drive a lineman out of the way, then get to the second level and finish off a linebacker. Plays with his head on a swivel.

Question: Will he have enough time to learn the system, crack the starting lineup and make a lasting impact?

Projection: He has the size, build and combination of quickness and strength to provide the type of athlete at the tackle spot that Penn State hasn’t had in years.

Marquis Wilson

School: Windsor (Conn.) HS

Projected position: Cornerback

Ranking: Four stars by, 247sports and ESPN

Strength: The ball seems to find him. He reads the ball well when it’s in the air, and he can outposition, outjump and outwork a receiver for a 50-50 ball.

Question: Is he more a coverage man than a potential force against the run?

Projection: He jumps at you on film and while others in the class get a bit more publicity, Wilson is a good bet to have a strong career at a very competitive position.

Saleem Wormley

Projected position: Guard/Center

Ranking: Four stars by and 247sports; Three stars by ESPN

Strength: When he gets his hands on you, it’s over. Strong enough in the upper body to hold his block, so strong in the legs, he’s difficult to move once he got planted.

Question: Against elite competition, he struggles in pass protection, and his ability to pick that skill up to an acceptable level athletically is a legitimate concern.

Projection: A Steven Gonzalez-type of lineman who is so good as a run blocker that he has a chance down the road to be a multi-year contributor.

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