We will have more in the coming days, but as the dust settles on the early signing period, here are some names that went unsigned. Some of these names Penn State is already involved with, and others are names that could pop up in January and February.
THE OBVIOUS TARGETS
Four-Star OG Doug Nester (Huntington, WV)
Although Nester remains committed to Ohio State, he opted not to sign today as he weighs his other options beyond Columbus. One of his options? The Penn State Nittany Lions. Nester made an unofficial visit to State College last weekend, and should be back in January for an official visit.
With Penn State missing out on Jakai Moore, it certainly wants to add one more offensive lineman to the class, and Nester is clearly the prime option. It won’t be easy to pull him away from Ohio State (he’s been committed since August 2017), but it’s looking like if any program can do it, it’ll be Penn State.
Four-Star DT D’Von Ellies (Owings Mills, MD)
Ellies went unsigned today, and instead, will take his recruitment into the new year. Penn State holds the advantage in his recruitment — owning all 14 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions — but with recruiting boards now being reset, it wouldn’t be a surprise if a new school makes a play for Ellies in January. The Maryland four-star still has two official visit spots open, so if the right school comes along, it could make for a nervous month for Penn State.
Three-Star DT Jared Harrison-Hunte (Middle Village, NY)
Similar to Ellies, Penn State is the leader here with all 10 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, but this one will go into 2019. Having visited Arizona State, Ohio State, Miami, and Penn State, Harrison-Hunte has one official left, and like Ellies, that will be something to keep an eye out for. Alabama and Michigan are recent offers, and if they push come January, don’t be surprised to see Harrison-Hunte pop up at either campus for his last official visit.
Three-Star DE Smith Vilbert (Montvale, NJ)
You might be sensing a theme here, but Smith Vilbert is another prospect that Penn State is in the lead for, with the Nittany Lions owning 8-of-9 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions for the 6-foot-6, 250-pound defensive end. He too went unsigned today, and will see his recruitment go into January. Vilbert has used just two official visits thus far, but does have one locked in for January 11 to Florida. Like the others, we’ll see what other schools make a run at the raw defensive end prospect now that the recruiting boards have been reset.
Four-Star ATH Mark-Antony Richards (West Palm Beach, FL)
While Richards could play running back, wide receiver, or even safety in college, it appears that he wants to be a running back. With Penn State already having two committed, it will be an uphill battle to get Richards to come north. But hey, JaJuan Seider loves a challenge.
BONUS: NAMES THAT COULD EMERGE
As we touched on above, one of the outcomes of the early signing period is that those who don’t sign usually see a massive increase in offers. Colleges have the next 6 weeks to recruit such a limited pool of players, that a high three-star from New Jersey could all of a sudden become a national recruit.
While it’s still a little early to know which names will get that big bump — and if Penn State joins the fray — I think the positions you’ll want to look out for are wide receiver and offensive tackle. Penn State doesn’t have a “true” high school tackle in the class, and at wide receiver, John Dunmore is the lone signee.
At wide receiver, someone like Stanley King (Camden, NJ) could be a name that pops up. He was committed to Louisville, but is now back on the market with the coaching change. New Jersey’s Charles Njoku is another potential target. He was a Missouri commit, but decommitted in November. There’s Yusuf Terry from Philadelphia, too. He’s committed to Matt Rhule and Baylor, but wants to wait it out. Finally, there’s my favorite prospect Tre’Von Morgan from Massillon, OH. He’s earned a number of offers after his senior film made the rounds, and would bring elite size (6-foot-6, 215 pounds) to whatever program he chooses.
Along the offensive line, Dawand Jones is a name to know for sure. The 6-foot-8, 360-pound offensive tackle has picked up offers from everywhere — USC, Ohio State, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Penn State, etc. He’ll be a busy kid in January. There’s also Adam ElGammal, a former basketball player and teammate of Jared Harrison-Hunte. ElGammal is committed to Cincinnati, but just picked up offers from Kentucky, Rutgers, and Miami since the start of his senior season. He’s another one that probably isn’t done landing offers.