State Eight: Spring Visits Abound

We take a look at eight key prospects who will be among the many recruits visiting Penn State during spring practice.

Penn State kicks off spring drills March 17, a time when its players will have the first opportunity to prove their talent to new head coach James Franklin and his staff.

Next Monday also marks the start of another busy round of visitors to campus. Though the spring evaluation period sits off in the distance (April 15-30 and then May 1-31, excluding Sundays and Memorial Day), there are no breaks when it comes to recruiting.

Fight On State has already confirmed a host of visitors for the spring practice period, and it's likely to grow, capped off by the biggest visitor weekend of the spring for the program's annual Blue-White Game April 12. We break down a visitor at each position, and talk about his recruitment, below.


Kyle Shurmur, La Salle (Wyndmoor, Pa.)

Visit Date: April 5

Notable: Shurmur has two offers, but neither is from Penn State. The junior son of Philadelphia Eagles' offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is behind New Jersey signal caller Brandon Wimbush and California gunner Brady White, both of whom have offers, but is a talent worth watching down the road if things don't work out with either offered passer.

Running Back

Andre Robinson, Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt

Visit Date: March 22

Notable: Why is it important that an already committed running back returns to campus? Because the Lions plan to host nearly 10 prospects on the fourth Saturday in March, and verbal commitments mixed with uncommitted prospects is a formula that tends to yield success.

Wide Receiver

Van Jefferson, Ravenwood (Tenn.) Brentwood

Visit Date: Week of March 17

Notable: Jefferson was offered by Bill O'Brien', an offer that was confirmed by Franklin (who also offered him while at Vanderbilt. Receiver is not as big of a need in this cycle with four coming aboard in the Class of 2014. The number of offers out is an indication of that. Still, Jefferson has said distance won't be a factor, and liked what he saw of University Park when he visited last summer.

Offensive Line

Sterling Jenkins, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Baldwin

Visit Date: March 22

Notable: Did we mention that Robinson visiting March 22 was notable? Jenkins is one reason why. The tackle seemed to be a regional recruit, but SEC offers have expanded his view. Still, the Lions like where they sit after Jenkins visited for Junior Day in February, and he clicked with State's staff. Now, he gets to see them operate.

Defensive Line

Ryan Buchholz, Malvern (Pa.) Great Valley

Visit Date: March 22

Notable: Buchholz will get his first look at Penn State defensive line coach Sean Spencer during his spring practice visit. Of course, as a verbal he'll be able to help recruit, too. But the factor not touched on much is the idea that these verbal commitments really have yet to see the staff at work. Buchholz, and the others, will now get that chance.


Darrin Kirkland Jr., Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central

Visit Date: March 15

Notable: Kirkland was offered by Franklin and company back in mid-February, and though it didn't initially appear the Lions would land a visit from the 14-offer interior four-star, he'll do just that with a few other players early in the practice calendar. Kirkland's tape seems to project him as a inside linebacker through and through, which stands out since the Lions' already have one prospect in that mold committed in Jake Cooper. The intrigue is why Kirkland is one to watch.

Defensive Back

Jordan Whitehead, Monaca (Pa.) Central Valley

Visit Date: March 29

Notable: A four-star with 12 offers, Whitehead was another Junior Day visitor who left impressed with Franklin and his staff. He returns for a visit, following an Ohio State trip March 22, and will have a chance to put the Buckeyes and Lions side by side. The corner is also considering Pitt, Ohio State, and West Virginia, among others.

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