FRANKLY SPEAKING: Future Focus

In this edition of Future Focus, we reset where the Nittany Lions are, and where they may be headed, with the end of spring and start of a new contact period on deck.

In this report you can assume any of the "top targets" have an offer. The numbers listed for each position reflect the number for the class in its totality rather than including the number of prospects that have already committed.
Quarterback

Committed: None

Top Target Reset: St. Peters (Jersey City, N.J.) quarterback Brandon Wimbush continues to be the hot name here, and with good reason. The junior has visited University Park twice this spring (once unexpected) and continues to mention the Lions at every turn. The Lions have as good a shot as any to land the four-star when he makes an early summer decision.

Who we're watching: Alex Malzone, Brother Rice (Bloomfield, Mich.); Patrick Kehoe, Cheshire (Conn.) Academy; Kyle Shurmur, La Salle College (Wyndmoor, Pa.).

Numbers Game: One


Running Back

Committed: Saquon Barkley, Andre Robinson

Top Target Reset: We listed Robinson, from Harrisburg, Pa. Bishop McDevitt as our top target in October, and despite the coaching change, the Lions landed him anyway. Barkley was listed as one to watch, and it proved worth it, as he flipped from Rutgers in 2014. Outside of Central Bucks South athlete Josh Adams, Penn State is pretty much done here.

Who we're watching: Josh Adams, Warrington, Pa. Central Bucks South

Numbers Game: 2-3


Wide Receiver

Committed: Brandon Polk, Juwan Johnson

Top Target Reset: In October, Tennessee pass catcher Van Jefferson was listed in this spot, while Polk and Johnson weren't evenmentioned at all. How things have changed. The Ashburn, Va. Briar Woods and Glassboro, N.J. receivers, respectively, have both joined the class, while Jefferson is all but a lock to pledge to Ohio State. We continue to watch Haddonfield, N.J. Paul VI receiver Irvin Charles, but after skipping a planned trip to campus March 29, he'll have to return to University Park to be considered a legitimate option.

Who We're Watching: Christian Philpott*, North Florida (Tallahassee, Fla.) Christian

Numbers Game: 2-3


Tight end

Committed: None

Top Target Rest: A four-star out of Ohio, LaGrange, Ohio Keystone tight end C.J. Conrad was our original pick here. He visited University Park but left without an offer. He may return to camp, and we keep Clark listed as he continues to take visits (though one to Penn State isn't planned) after committing to North Carolina.

Who we're watching: Chris Clark, Old Farms (Avon, Conn.)

Numbers Game: 0-1


Offensive Tackle

Committed: None

Top Target Reset: Previously, we had listed Pittsburgh, Pa Baldwin's Sterling Jenkins, Philadelphia, Pa Archbishop Wood's Ryan Bates, Lawrenceville, N.J. Prep's Grant Newsome, and Lexington, Va. Rockbridge's Austin Clark in this space. Bates has since committed, but has been reclassified as a guard. The Lions still have a puncher's chance with all three, but the highest odds currently reside with Jenkins.

Who We're Watching: Matthew Burrell*, C.D. Hylton (Woodbridge, Va.); George Brown*, Cincinnati, Ohio Winston Wood; Brendan Loftus, Tallahassee, Fla. Godby; Gabe Megginson* Jacksonville, Ill.

Numbers Game: 1-2


Offensive Guard

Committed: Steven Gonzalez, Ryan Bates

Top Target Reset: Gonzalez was the latest pledge along the offensive line for the Lions, joining Bates, who committed in mid-February. Petitbon remains a name to watch, but his interest both ways has waned with the staff change.

Who We're Watching: Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) guard/tackle Richie Petitbon

Numbers Game: 2-3


Defensive Tackle

Committed: None

Top Target Reset: The two names we were watching in October, Suffield, Conn. Academy four-star Christian Wilkins and Gaithersburg, Md. Quince Orchard tackle Adam McLean , remain. Tackle is one of the unique positions in this class, as hardly any of them do much chatting with the media.

Who We're Watching: Harry Lewis*, Phoebus (Hampton, Va.); Darvin Taylor II, Thomas Dale (Chester, Va.); Chance Hall, Northside (Roanoke, Va.).

Numbers game: 1-2


Defensive End

Committed: Ryan Buchholz, Kamonte Carter

Top Target Reset: Two of the prospects we eyed in October were Buchholz and Carter. Both committed, meaning our previous top pick, Olney, Md. Good Counsel end Darius Fullwood, remains on the board. We'll keep him up top while acknowledging Penn State has plenty of work to do to land him. The junior recently called Penn State his leader.

Who We're Watching: Shareef Miller, Philadelphia, Pa. Frankford; Russell Ude, Atlanta, Ga. Westminster School; Jonathan Holland

Numbers Game: 2-3


Outside Linebacker

Committed: Josh Barajas

Top Target Reset: This one is fun (not really) to look back on. Two of the prospects we listed, Justin Hilliard and Ricky DeBerry, are no longer considering Penn State. The third, Cleveland, Ohio Benedictine four-star Jerome Baker, remains firmly in the mix for the Lions. Another name to add is that of recently offered New Jersey three-star Manny Bowen, who we'll include with Baker here. As it relates to Barajas, he's a prospect solely credited to Franklin's staff.

Who We're Watching: None.

Numbers Game: 1-2


Middle Linebacker

Committed: Jake Cooper

Top Target Reset: Under Bill O'Brien, Ohio linebacker Chris Green was the prospect we kept our eye on. That's shifted with Franklin, who wasted no time in locking up three-star Cooper. We're watching Indiana linebacker Darrin Kirkland here as well.

Who We're Watching: Darrin Kirkland

Numbers game: 1-2


Safety

Committed: Jarvis Miller

Top Target Reset: Miller was snatched up by Penn State on Junior Day as a position we had no top pick for under O'Brien. We still don't have a name to throw up here.

Who We're Watching: Jazzee Stocker, Coatesville (Pa.); Tyson Cisrow, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Aquinas

Numbers game: 1-2


Cornerback

Committed: None

Top Target Reset: Much like offensive tackle, we had a gang of prospects listed here that Penn State is still setting its sights on. The top pick now is Monaca, Pa. Central Valley four-star Jordan Whitehead. He has long held the Lions in high regard, and that feeling has been matched with the new staff.

Who We're Watching: Ayron Monroe*, St. John's (Washington, D.C.) College; St. Joseph (Philadelphia Pa.) Prep four-star John Reid; Timber Creek (Sicklerville, N.J.) four-star Kareem Ali

Numbers Game: 1-2


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