Penn State Football Recruiting: Meet the Nittany Lions' 2014 Class

Tim Tolley@@TimTolley_BRContributor IFebruary 5, 2014

Penn State Football Recruiting: Meet the Nittany Lions' 2014 Class

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    James Franklin's first recruiting class as the head coach of Penn State is in the books, and it's an impressive cast of characters.

    The 2014 class, a full 25-player limit, is comprised of recruits from 15 different states, including Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and California.

    According to 247Sports' composite ratings, the Nittany Lions landed the top two prospects from Delaware, the No. 2 recruit from Massachusetts and two of the top six New Jersey recruits in addition to top 10 players from Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina.

    Here is a detailed look at your newest Penn State Nittany Lions!

    All star ratings courtesy of 247Sports composite ratings unless otherwise noted.

Marcus Allen

1 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 190 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star Safety, No. 26 Safety recruit

    High School: Dr. Henry Wise High School (Upper Marlboro, Md.)

    Senior Year Stats: 15 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries (Three games)

    Other Offers: Pitt, Clemson, Michigan State, Stanford

    Commit Day: May 10, 2013

    Allen tore ligaments in his ankle early in his senior season but expects to be ready to practice once he arrives on campus this summer.

    Like many of the defensive backs in this class, Allen will have a shot at seeing snaps as a freshman, at least on special teams. 

    Coach Fanklin and Coach Shoop came to visit 🏈✊💯 #WeAre

    — Marcus Allen (@Chico_Ehhh) January 27, 2014

Mark Allen

2 of 26

    Height/Weight: 5'7", 185 pounds

    Ranking/Position: 3-star RB, No. 70 RB recruit

    High School: DeMatha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, Md.)

    Other Offers: Wake Forest, Temple, Cincinnati 

    Commit Day: Oct. 16, 2012

    Mark Allen was the first member of the 2014 class, committing in the fall of his junior year.

    A torn ACL cost him half of his junior and senior seasons at DeMatha. With three proven running backs already on campus and two more enrolling in this class, it's hard to see Allen making a big impact as a freshman.  

    We are ...... PENN STATE ! #NittanyNation #PennState

    — MARK ALLEN (@theALLENshow) January 25, 2014

Troy Apke

3 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 187 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star WR, No. 48 WR recruit

    High School: Mount Vernon High School (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

    Senior Year Stats: 40 receptions, 728 yards, 7 touchdowns

    Other Offers: Pitt, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Kentucky

    Commit Day: April 13, 2013

    Apke is a versatile wideout, but with the receiving class he's enrolling with, he'll have an uphill battle to see the field early in his career.

    Troy's dad played linebacker at Pitt.

Tarow Barney

4 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 285 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star DT, No. 8 JUCO DT recruit

    High School: Northwest Mississippi C.C. (Senatobia, Miss.)

    2013 Stats: 36 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, forced fumble

    Other Offers: Illinois, Arizona State, Kansas State

    Commit Day: Nov. 24, 2013 (Early Enrollee)

    With DaQuan Jones off to the NFL and Kyle Baublitz moving on from his football career, there is room for a player like Barney to make an immediate impact on the defensive line.

    Expect to see him in the rotation when Penn State lands in Ireland this August.

Noah Beh

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    Height/Weight: 6'6", 260 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star OT, No. 44 OT recruit

    High School: Scranton Prep (Scranton, Pa.)

    Other Offers: Pitt, Boston College, Syracuse, Virginia

    Commit Day: June 1, 2013

    Beh will likely redshirt as a freshman while he adds weight. It's worth noting that other schools recruited him as a defensive end, so a position change isn't out of the question. 

    Had a long conversation with Noah Beh and his dad today about school and football, great kid! Great addition to the family.

    — Garry Gilliam™ (@Gi77iam) June 1, 2013

Saeed Blacknall

6 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 210 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 4-star WR, No. 21 WR recruit

    High School: Manalapan High School (Englishtown, N.J.)

    Senior Year Stats: 52 receptions, 707 yards, 15 touchdowns

    Other Offers: Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State

    Commit Day: Jan. 26, 2014

    As the top-rated recruit in Penn State's 2014 class, Blacknall could be the perfect replacement for Allen Robinson. He'll likely play early and often as a freshman after flipping his commitment from Rutgers.

    Penn State wide receivers coach Josh Gattis has had recent success with bigger wideouts.

Brendan Brosnan

7 of 26

    Brendan Brosnan, courtesy of 247Sports

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 275 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star OT, No. 81 OT recruit

    High School: Maine South High School (Park Ridge, Ill.)

    Other Offers: NC State, Illinois, Maryland, Va Tech

    Commit Day: Jan. 14, 2014

    Originally committed to Vanderbilt, Brosnan flipped to Penn State shortly after the hiring of James Franklin.

    With the size to compete immediately, Brosnan has a shot at playing as a freshman, but that's uncommon for offensive linemen.

Torrence Brown

8 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 228 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star Athlete, No. 129 Athlete recruit

    High School: Tuscaloosa Academy (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)

    Other Offers: Arizona State, NC State, West Virginia, UConn

    Commit Day: Feb. 5, 2014

    Brown has been referred to as a "jumbo athlete" by ESPN's Josh Moyer. He'll likely grow into a pass-rushing end but could slide out to play linebacker in a 3-4 look. In high school, he played linebacker, end, running back, receiver and tight end.

Jason Cabinda

9 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 220 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star Athlete, No. 109 Athlete recruit

    High School: Hunterdon Central High School (Flemington, N.J.)

    Senior Year Stats: 1,258 rushing yards, 17 touchdowns

    Other Offers: Rutgers, Maryland, Boston College

    Commit Day: Oct. 23, 2013

    Despite rushing for over 2,500 yards the last two seasons, Cabinda's most likely position in college is linebacker. He'll probably spend a year refining his technique before seeing the field.

Christian Campbell

10 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 181 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star Safety, No. 95 Safety recruit

    High School: Central High School (Phenix City, Ala.)

    Senior Year Stats: 56 tackles, 8 pass breakups, interception

    Other Offers: Missouri, Indiana, Minnesota, Boise State

    Commit Day: Feb. 3 2014

    A fast-rising prospect, Campbell dominated the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game, recording nine tackles. He'll be in the mix with the other defensive backs for early action on both special teams and defense. 

Koa Farmer

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    Height/Weight: 6'1", 200 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star Safety, No. 31 safety recruit

    High School: Notre Dame High School (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)

    Senior Year Stats: 62 tackles, 4 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles and 2 sacks

    Other Offers: Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, Washington, Arizona State

    Commit Day: Jan. 25, 2014

    After committing to Cal, Farmer visited UCLA, USC and Washington before visiting Penn State in late January and committing to the Nittany Lions.

    In addition to his defensive stats, Koa also played just about everywhere on the offensive side of the ball, compiling 10 rushing touchdowns and eight receiving touchdowns.

    A redshirt season could let Farmer grow into a linebacker, a la Gerald Hodges, but there's room on the depth chart at safety. His athleticism could be needed on special teams units that look to be vastly improved in 2014. 


    — KOA#⃣6⃣ (@KOAFARMER) February 1, 2014

Mike Gesicki

12 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 236 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 4-star TE, No. 6 TE recruit

    High School: Southern Regional High School (Manahawkin, N.J.)

    Senior Year Stats: 33 receptions, 530 yards, 4 touchdowns

    Other Offers: Ohio State, Florida State, Rutgers, Miami (FL), Wisconsin 

    Commit Day: Oct. 17, 2013

    Gesicki will find himself entrenched in a tight end depth chart full of talent. However, the incoming freshman may be a wild card once he steps on campus. Blessed with elite size and athleticism, Gesicki won a state championship as a volleyball player and averaged 20 points per game for his basketball team.

    Gesicki was the only tight end recruited by Penn State in this cycle, as the position wasn't a priority.

    New Head Coach at Penn State James Frankin and the staff out at my house for a great time. #WEARE #PENNSTATE 🏈

    — Ⓜ️G (@mikegesicki) January 18, 2014

Chris Godwin

13 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 193 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 4-star WR, No. 34 WR recruit

    High School: Middletown High School (Middletown, Del.)

    Junior Year (2012) Stats: 42 receptions, 834 yards, 12 touchdowns

    Other Offers: Ohio State, Stanford, South Carolina, Va Tech

    Commit Day: April 23, 2013

    Godwin may be the most polished receiver in a deep Penn State class, and he'll have a good shot at seeing snaps as a true freshman. He'll also be in the mix as a kick returner.

    WR commit Chris Godwin on Franklin: "I'm excited about it. He's done great things at Vanderbilt and I expect nothing less at #PennState."

    — Audrey Snyder (@audsnyder4) January 11, 2014

Grant Haley

14 of 26

    Height/Weight: 5'10", 170 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star CB, No. 47 CB recruit

    High School: Lovett School (Atlanta, Ga.)

    Other Offers: Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Duke

    Commit Day: Jan. 20, 2014

    Haley was one of the Vanderbilt commits that switched to Penn State after the hiring of Franklin. The coaching staff intends to use him at corner as well as a returner, so he'll have a shot to make an immediate impact.

    Made a decision tonight to commit to Penn State University...appreciate everyone at vandy and hope they can still respect me #WeAre

    — Grant Haley (@haleyboy10) January 20, 2014

Trace McSorley

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    Height/Weight: 6'0", 182 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star QB/Safety, No. 15 Dual-Threat QB recruit

    High School: Briar Woods High School (Ashburn, Va.)

    Senior Year Stats: 2,690 passing yards, 30 touchdowns

    Other Offers: Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Boston College, North Carolina

    Commit Day: Jan. 20, 2014

    On the surface, it looks like a long shot that McSorley could compete at quarterback right now, but in high school, he put together a 55-5 record while throwing for over 10,000 yards and 111 touchdowns to go with his 38 rushing yards.

    Whether he plays quarterback or safety in Happy Valley, McSoley will likely redshirt as a freshman as he hones in on perfecting his skill on one side of the ball.

    Wow #WeAre

    — Trace McSorley (@TM7_NextGen) January 26, 2014

Michael O'Connor

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    Height/Weight: 6'4", 223 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 4-star QB, No. 14 Pro-Style QB recruit

    High School: IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)

    Senior Year Stats: 1,804 passing yards, 18 touchdowns

    Other Offers: Michigan State, Missouri, Mississippi State, Rutgers

    Commit Day: June 8, 2013 (Early Enrollee)

    The staff would probably prefer to redshirt O'Connor and put a year between him and Hackenberg. But if they need him, the Canadian native spent the last two years learning under Chris Weinke and has the tools to contribute.

Amani Oruwariye

17 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 180 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star CB, No. 50 CB recruit

    High School: Gaither High School (Tampa Bay, Fla.)

    Senior Year Stats: 47 tackles, four interceptions, nine pass breakups and three blocked punts

    Other Offers: Nebraska, Michigan State, Arizona, Duke

    Commit Day: Jan. 30, 2014

    Oruwariye initially committed to James Franklin in October while he was still at Vanderbilt but decommitted and visited Penn State after the coach switched jobs.

    The Nittany Lions have brought in several defensive backs over the last two years, but Oruwariye's length may give him an advantage if there is playing time to be had for an underclassman. He's another candidate to see snaps on special teams.

    It's been a long recruiting process. I'd like to thank every school that played a part in this. I…

    — Amani Oruwariye (@ooFUTURISTICoo) January 31, 2014

Troy Reeder

18 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 230 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star LB, No. 22 Inside Linebacker recruit

    High School: Salesianum School (Wilmington, De.)

    Senior Year Stats: 96 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries

    Other Offers: Pitt, Rutgers, Miami (FL), Maryland

    Commit Day: Feb. 26, 2013

    Reeder likely would have compiled a long offer sheet had he not committed so early in the process. As a senior, he earned first-team All-State honors at both running back and linebacker while winning a state championship.

    Most people believe he'll make an immediate impact on both defense and special teams after arriving on campus.

    Chris Godwin and I representing the future of #PSU at the All-State banquet. Defensive and Offensive POY's

    — Troy Reeder (@troyreeder9) January 28, 2014

Nick Scott

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    Height/Weight: 5'11", 188 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star Athlete, No. 47 Athlete recruit

    High School: Fairfax High School (Fairfax, Va.)

    Senior Year Stats: 1,593 rushing yards, 23 touchdowns

    Other Offers: Nebraska, USF, Boston College

    Commit Day: Feb. 23, 2013

    Primarily recruited as a running back, Scott will need to find a niche in order to see the field as a freshman. With 99 tackles as a senior linebacker, he's another candidate to contribute on Penn State's special teams units that promise to be faster and more diverse in 2014.

    Best game I've seen in my life. #WeAre #NittanyNation #BleedBlue #BeatMichigan #WhiteOut #4OTs #107,884

    — Nick Wiggle Scott (@NittanyKidNick2) October 13, 2013

Chance Sorrell

20 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 263 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star OT, No. 93 OT recruit

    High School: Middletown High School (Middletown, Ohio)

    Other Offers: Louisville, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Boston College

    Commit Day: Jan. 11, 2014

    A tight end-turned-tackle, Sorrell will likely redshirt his first season as he continues to add weight and refine his technique.

    AWESOME is becoming cliche but don't know what else to say. @Chanman158811 & @angelsorrell1 are #WeAre #PSU

    — Gardner Sorrell (@glsorrell) January 26, 2014

Johnathan Thomas

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    Height/Weight: 5'11", 205 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star RB, No. 31 RB recruit

    High School: St. John's Prep (Danvers, Mass.)

    Junior Year (2012) Stats: 1,794 yards, 15 touchdowns

    Other Offers: Arkansas, Boston College, Maryland, UConn

    Commit Day: 10/20/2013

    It's hard to imagine a freshman running back seeing the field in 2014, but Thomas has a shot. He's big enough for the next level and played both sides of the ball in high school, which could land him on special teams.

De'Andre Thompkins

22 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 170 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 4-star WR, No. 33 WR recruit

    High School: Swansboro High School (Swansboro, N.C.)

    Senior Year Stats: 699 rushing yards, 9 touchdowns, 269 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns

    Other Offers: North Carolina, Clemson, Notre Dame, Tennessee

    Commit Day: April 20, 2013 (Early Enrollee)

    Thompkins could probably benefit from a redshirt season to learn the details of playing receiver, but his speed and athleticism won't allow it. Thompkins is the favorite to be the kick returner when Penn State squares off against UCF in Ireland.

    Good WR more schools should have been on is De'Andre Thompkins. ATH playing Wildcat in HS. #PennState #UAALLAMERICA

    — Tom Luginbill (@TomLuginbill) December 29, 2013

Antoine White

23 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 265 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star DT, No. 47 DT recruit

    High School: Millville High School (Millville, N.J.)

    Junior Year (2012) Stats: 80 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 6 sacks

    Other Offers: Michigan State, North Carolina, Pitt, Rutgers, Duke

    Commit Day: July 1, 2013 (Early Enrollee)

    Antoine White should be given a shot at making the rotation at defensive tackle this year. Either way, he'll be a cornerstone of the line going forward.

    I am a Nittany Lion, and will be enrolled and on campus January 11th. No more questions.

    — Antoine White (@antoinewhite53) January 4, 2014

Daquan Worley

24 of 26

    Height/Weight: 5'11", 170 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star CB, No. 41 CB recruit

    High School: Coatesville Area High School (Coatesville, P.A.)

    Junior Year (2012) Stats: 1,779 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns, 45 tackles, 3 interceptions

    Other Offers: Rutgers, Pitt, Georgia Tech

    Commit Day: May 3, 2013

    Worley may redshirt after tearing his ACL in October, but as the highest rated of the three cornerback recruits, he's one to keep an eye on.

Chasz Wright

25 of 26

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 285 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star OT, No. 3 JUCO OT recruit

    High School: Milford Academy (New Berlin, N.Y.)

    Other Offers: UConn, Temple

    Commit Day: Dec. 28, 2013 (Early Enrollee)

    Playing a year of prep school and enrolling early will benefit Wright. If he improves in the spring, there's no reason to think he won't be in the the rotation this fall.

Where Are the Top Prospects Coming From?

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    Check out where the top recruits are coming from this year. Penn State getting into the south could be a big factor in the near future.