Brandon Wimbush Commits to Penn State: What 4-Star QB Brings to Nittany Lions

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Brandon Wimbush Commits to Penn State: What 4-Star QB Brings to Nittany Lions
Credit: 247Sports

Put another one in the win column for Penn State on the recruiting path. An hour after landing 4-star offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins, the Nittany Lions picked up a pledge from coveted quarterback prospect Brandon Wimbush.

The New Jersey standout became the 15th member of Penn State's 2015 recruiting class on Tuesday night during a commitment announcement broadcast exclusively by Bleacher Report:

Wimbush, a 6'2", 205-pound playmaker from Jersey City powerhouse St. Peter's Prep, elected to wrap up his nationwide recruitment less than a week after receiving an offer from Alabama. Teammate Minkah Fitzpatrick, a 5-star cornerback, committed to the Crimson Tide in April, fueling speculation that the pair could reunite in Tuscaloosa.

He also considered offers from Ohio State, Virginia Tech, LSU, Miami and Boston College. The Buckeyes, stuck at two total 2015 commitments, were widely viewed as the Nittany Lions' leading contender.

By bringing Wimbush on board, James Franklin made it two-of-two in showdowns with Urban Meyer on Tuesday. Penn State and Ohio State were the only finalists for Jenkins, a Pittsburgh product who declared his intentions earlier in the evening.

The Nittany Lions now hold 11 4-star commitments, including three New Jersey prospects. Wimbush joins wide receiver Juwan Johnson (Glassboro) and offensive guard Steven Gonzalez (Union City) as key pickups from the Garden State.

Penn State has quickly assembled one of the nation's premier crops of talent in this recruiting cycle. With Wimbush on board, the Nittany Lions rate No. 2 nationally in 247Sports' composite team rankings.

It's an impressive haul for a team just months removed from its second high-profile coaching change in two years. The class should fill several holes across the roster, including depth at quarterback.

Wimbush completed 60 percent of his pass attempts in 2013, per NJ.com. He threw for 1,472 yards and 14 touchdowns, adding another 578 yards and seven scores on the ground.

His junior season ended with a loss to Paramus Catholic and 5-star 2014 Michigan signee Jabrill Peppers in the state championship game. Wimbush will return to the field as a senior with expectations to carry more of a load in the offensive attack after the departure of running back Jonathan Hilliman, who heads to Boston College this summer.

Wimbush, always a capable athlete and impressive runner in the open field, steadily improved as a passer last year. Based on his performance at the New York/New Jersey Nike Football Training Camp on April 27, he's continued to craft his skills during the offseason.

Wimbush appeared poised and displayed a compact delivery. He launched the ball downfield with impressive velocity and managed to beat several standout defensive backs during the day.

That performance may have occurred in shorts and a T-shirt, but evidence for his ability to orchestrate an offense in full-speed game situations is apparent on tape. Wimbush excels under duress, able to buy time with his legs while maintaining focus on his targets.

He won't be forced to play immediately in Happy Valley, and he surely understands that given the presence of returning starter Christian Hackenberg. The rising sophomore earned Freshman All-American honors last season and is already being eyed as a possible No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL draft.

Wimbush will be able to watch and learn as offensive coordinator John Donovan installs a new scheme in Happy Valley. Expect Penn State to also utilize him as a valuable asset in practice while preparing for teams with mobile quarterbacks, like Ohio State.

During his time as a backup, Wimbush will have an opportunity to prove how he measures up against other Nittany Lions quarterbacks who aim to take over the starting job when Hackenberg departs. The position now features several young talents.

Penn State signed 4-star Florida quarterback Michael O'Connor in February. He enrolled early and participated in the first spring camp under James Franklin. 

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Fellow 2014 signee Trace McSorley, a 3-star Virginia product, joins the mix this summer. Barring unforeseen injuries at quarterback, there's a chance both newcomers take a redshirt this season.

If that's how things play out, Wimbush would be one of three Penn State quarterbacks to enter the 2015 campaign as a freshman in terms of collegiate eligibility.

Despite being on the job for just four months, Franklin has managed to stockpile prospects at the position. He hopes the efforts pay off now, with depth, and later, with one of the trio emerging as a star.

The first-year head coach continues to fill holes on the roster. In the aftermath of a day that featured two crucial acquisitions, he can now cross quarterback off his list.

 

Recruit information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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