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Lions make the cut for nation’s No. 1 recruit

Penn State is one of a select few college football programs still in the mix for America’s top-ranked 2020 prospect. Bryan Bresee, who has sat atop 247Sports 2020 recruit rankings since their August 2017 debut, included PSU on a list of six favorite universities Friday.

Bresee, a junior at Damascus (Md.) High School, also named Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan and Ohio State as those still under serious consideration. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound defensive lineman claims more than 30 scholarship offers, and he released a top-15 list in June.

Florida, LSU, Maryland, Oklahoma and Notre Dame are among those eliminated from the collection of contenders. While he still has plenty to look at with six schools vying for a verbal commitment, this announcement represents another step forward for Bresee, who has been on the national recruiting radar since his earliest high school days.

Penn State extended an offer to Bresee in February 2017, midway through his freshman year at Damascus. His relationship with the coaching staff and a developing feel for campus life have helped place PSU in an enviable position.

Bresee was part of two record-breaking Penn State crowds in “White Out” atmospheres: 2017 vs. Michigan and 2018 vs. Ohio State. The Nittany Lions also hosted him in April.

Along with his late-September trip to Happy Valley, Bresee attended 2018 matchups at Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State. Following his most recent visit to Penn State, he informed 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong of the Nittany Lions’ long-term role in his recruitment.

“That’s definitely one of the schools I’m going to take an official to,” Bresee said. “… One of the big things is how close it is to my home. I really like the coaches there. I know a bunch of players going there and they seem to really like it. Those are the big things.”

The official visit window for high school juniors opens in April. Bresee won’t sign with school of his choice until December 2019 at the earliest.

Penn State has treated him like a priority. James Franklin and defensive line coach Sean Spencer stopped by Damascus during the Nittany Lions’ bye week this fall.

Along with Bresee, the No. 1 overall talent in 247Sports 2020 composite rankings, Penn State appears to be a realistic contender for fellow five-star prospects such as receiver Julian Fleming (No. 9; Catawissa, Pa.), linebackers Mekhail Sherman (No. 13; Washington, D.C.) and Antoine Sampah (No. 21; Woodbridge, Va.), and running backs Chris Tyree (No. 23; Chester, Va.) and MarShawn Lloyd (No. 25; Hyattsville, Md.).

The Nittany Lions lead 247Sports Crystal Ball prognostications for Fleming, Lloyd and Tyree. Ohio State has an advantage in Bresee’s Crystal Ball, carrying 50 percent of predictions, while Penn State follows behind (38 percent).

PSU picked up its first verbal commitment of the 2020 class last Saturday, securing a pledge from offensive lineman Grant Toutant (Warren, Mich.).

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