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Penn State seeks to improve wide receiver position through portal or recruiting

It hasn’t been difficult to identify Penn State’s greatest personnel need, whether it’s in the current recruiting cycle or through the transfer portal.

The Nittany Lions want to improve their wide receiver position. They’ve received commitments from three high school wide receivers, who are expected to sign national letters of intent on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.

But they’re also looking for immediate help from receivers in the portal.

“Wide receiver is a position that appears to be demanding quite a bit of NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) discussion,” said Ryan Snyder, recruiting analyst for Blue-White Illustrated and On3. “I think a lot of the top receivers in the portal who would make a difference here are also getting money that Penn State often doesn’t match.

“They’re trying to find a balance between doing what they think is right while also bringing in the key guys they need.”

The Lions are still in the mix with three receivers in the portal: Ohio State’s Julian Fleming, a former five-star prospect from Southern Columbia High School; North Carolina’s Andre Greene Jr., who was a four-star prospect from Richmond, Va., two years ago; and Miami’s Colbie Young, who’s from Binghamton, N.Y., and who spent the 2021 season at Lackawanna College, which has produced many Penn State players.

“Young is a guy that Penn State is in with solidly,” said Tyler Calvaruso, recruiting analyst for Lions247. “Young and Greene are the two we’re keeping the closest eye on.”

KeAndre Lambert-Smith leads the Lions with 53 receptions for 673 yards and four touchdowns, but he had only three catches for 28 yards in the final three games of the regular season.

Dante Cephas, Trey Wallace and Liam Clifford are the only other wide receivers with more than six catches.

All of Penn State’s scholarship wide receivers have eligibility remaining, but it remains unclear which ones are staying.

Among the incoming recruits, Josiah Brown of Malverne, N.Y., is the highest-rated receiver, but he suffered a torn ACL this fall and probably won’t play in 2024.

The other two in the class are Tyseer Denmark of Imhotep, who’s not expected to enroll until June, and Peter Gonzalez of Pittsburgh Central Catholic, who both Snyder and Calvaruso said Penn State’s staff likes a lot.

“Peter Gonzalez has a lot of potential,” Snyder said.

Quarterback Ethan Grunkemeyer of Lewis Center, Ohio, and running back Quinton Martin of PIAA Class 3A champion Belle Vernon are two of the best-known players in the class.

Grunkemeyer is rated as one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the recruiting cycle.

“He’s really good at processing defenses, making his reads and being decisive,” Calvaruso said. “I’m really confident in his ability. I think he has what it takes to be a successful Big Ten quarterback.”

Martin is considered one of the top five athletes in the cycle. He ran for 1,202 yards and 15 touchdowns this season and caught 54 passes for 753 yards and 11 TDs.

“Quinton Martin is a playmaker,” Snyder said. “And Penn State needs playmakers, guys who can get chunk plays. I don’t see him taking away many carries from Nick Singleton or Kaytron Allen next year, but he has very good hands.”

Wyomissing lineman Caleb Brewer also is part of Penn State’s class. Rated a three-star prospect, he’s projected as a guard after playing on the offensive and defensive lines for the Spartans and tight end.

“When he committed, there was talk that he could play on either side of the ball,” Snyder said. “But he worked with (offensive line coach) Phil Trautwein at all the Penn State camps he attended. He’s a pretty athletic guard. He moves pretty well.”

Faced with the possibility that Kalen King and Daequan Hardy could declare for the NFL draft, the Lions have received commitments from three cornerbacks in this class: Jon Mitchell and Antoine Belgrave-Shorter, high school teammates in Jacksonville, Fla., and Kenny Woseley of Imhotep.

They’re already losing starting corner Johnny Dixon, who’s out of eligibility, which could leave sophomore Cam Miller as the only player with significant experience at that position.

“They would definitely like to get a corner with experience from the portal,” Snyder said. “Getting someone like that would be ideal for them.”


Source: Berkshire mont

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