PSU Future Focus: 2016 Offense

It's a long way until February 2016. But who do the Nittany Lions have on the radar already? Get the rundown on offers, prospects to watch and more.

Penn State's Class of 2015 has filled up in a hurry. Sure, a few spots remain, but plenty of time will be spent scouting the Class of 2016 this fall, too.

Nittany Lions's head coach James Franklin and his staff got to work evaluating the next cycle of talent shortly after they arrived. They haven't stopped since.

What lies ahead for the program nearly two years before current juniors arrive on the campus of their program of choice? We take an early look at the offense below.


Committed: None

Top Targets: Penn State has extended offers a few offers thus far, but two passers — Newtown, Pa., Council Rock North four-star Brandon McIlwain and Rochester, N.Y., Aquinas three-star Jake Zembiec — top our list. The former has a host of suitors, but got to know the staff early. Zembiec, meanwhile, earned an offer after an impressive June camp showing.

Who We're Watching: Westlake Village, Calif., five-star Malik Henry is the top junior signal caller, and though he has an offer, he's probably a pipe dream for the Lions. Non-offered names to know include a pair of New Jersey passers — Jarret Guarantano and Sonny Abramson — Potomac, Md., Bullis School four-star Dwayne Haskins, and Waxhaw, N.C., Cuthbertson four-star Austin Kendall.

Running Back

Committed: None

Top Targets: Penn State signed three running backs in the Class of 2014 and has verbals from two in the class of 2015. Translation: it may not be a position of need in 2016. Yet, five-star Wayne, N.J., DePaul Catholic back Kareem Walker has Penn State on his radar, as does Pittsburgh, Pa., Woodland Hills four-star ball carrier Miles Sanders. At this juncture, State probably sits better with Sanders than Walker, but it's extremely early.

Who We're Watching: Huntersville, N.C., SouthLake Chrisitan Academy four-star Robert Washington has been to campus and is a name to monitor. Penn State saw plenty it liked (though it did not offer) Florida three-star Trey Sneed during a camp at Stetson University. Aliquippa, Pa., four-star Kaezon Pugh rounds out the list of early non-offered names on the radar.

Wide Receiver

Top Targets: Another position where Penn State sits in good shape through the 2013 cycle and start of 2014, the Class of 2015 is loaded with plenty of enticing pass-catchers, as well. Cleveland Benedictine four-star Justin Layne tops our list, and he's joined by Rockville, Md., four-star Trevon Diggs.

The Class of 2015 is loaded with plenty of enticing pass-catchers, as well.

Who We're Watching: Offers are out to a few Southern players, but State has more realistic chances regionally with offers to Virginia four-star Scott Bracey and Maryland four-star Steven Smothers. On the offer-down-the-road front, New Jersey four-star Cameron Chambers is as electric as anyone, and two other four-stars — Hyattsville, Md., DeMatha Catholic's Tino Ellis and Clairton, Pa., pass catcher Aaron Mathews — are strong talents to watch.

Tight End

Top Target: Though Exton, Pa., Downingtown East four-star Cary Angeline is currently listed as a receiver, his future appears to be at tight end. Penn State thinks so, at least, and it will be in the race to land the talented pass-catcher and blocker until the end.

Who We're Watching: Philadelphia Imhotep three-star Naseir Upshur had one of the biggest springs in the East in terms of new offers, though the Nittany Lions have yet to come aboard. Penn State has been keeping an eye on Ashburn, Va., Briar Woods four-star Mark Birmingham (he visited with Class of 2015 verbal Brandon Polk this spring) and an offer is out to another four-star, Jake Hausmann of Cincinnati Moeller.

Offensive Line

Top Targets: Inside and outside guys are combined here with the realization a lot of growing can and likely will take place for many of these prospects over the next year. Three prospects currently pegged at tackle — four-star's Michal Menet of Reading, Pa., Exeter and Jauan Williams of Washington D.C., Archbishop Carroll, along with three-star Orlando Bishop Moore three-star Parker Boudreaux — dot the list outside. An offer has yet to go out inside.

Who We're Watching: Penn State has done well pinpointing the inside/combo prospects offensive line coach Herb Hand desires in the Class of 2015, but looking ahead, Pennsylvania native Ted Field is a big body who has visited Penn State plenty. Non-offered names outside to remember include D.C. four-star Richard Merritt and Middletown, N.J., Middletown-South's Thomas Lopez.

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