Penn State Sunday Camp Breakdown

News and notes from the Nittany Lions' final instructional session of the summer.

News and notes from Penn State's last football camp of the summer:

• At the start of each camp, the various Nittany Lion assistant coaches introduce themselves by stating the position they handle and the areas they recruit. Sunday, defensive recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach Terry Smith made a note of saying he recruits Canada.

It was surely a subtle message to the crew of Canadian prospects in the house, led by 2016 corner Patrice Rene.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound three-star prospect is the kind of long corner Smith and company are targeting. He is very athletic, too, and in particular showed great leaping ability Sunday.

Alas, it looked like he tweaked a leg before one-on-ones began, so we did not get to see him there. But Rene holds a PSU offer, and with his size and athletic ability, it is easy to see why.

• Speaking of defensive backs, Class of 2015 standout Jordan Whitehead was on hand Sunday. But he was in street clothes and did not participate.

The four-star product of Central Valley High in Monaca, Pa., looked right at home, though, first hanging out with PSU commits Myles Hartsfield (2015) and Miles Sanders (2016), and later with current Lions like DaeSean Hamilton, DeAndre Thompkins and others.

Whitehead left Holuba Hall with Smith about midway through the action, and headed toward Lasch Building. We did not see him back at camp, but can report there is no truth to the rumor that the PSU staff was holding him hostage until he committed (we kid, we kid). Stay tuned for more here.

• Speaking of Canadians, two of Rene's countrymen also looked good at camp. Both are from the Class of 2017 (meaning they are about to be high school sophomores -- yikes).

Jonathon Sutherland is a 5-11, 187-pound running back who added some serious size since appearing at a PSU camp last summer. He appeared to be one of the quicker backs at this camp, and made a point of being first in line for every drill.

Luiji Vilain is a 6-2, 227-pound defensive end who clearly has the athletic ability to compete at the major-college level. But in one-on-ones with some of the bigger O-linemen at camp, he was (understandably) muscled around at times. He has to add size and strength, but fortunately has plenty of time to do so.

By the way, coaches and other players were pronouncing his first name “Luigi,” like the video game character.

• Speaking of bigger offensive linemen, one of the pleasant surprises (to us) at camp was Raquan Thomas, a hulking Class of 2016 offensive lineman out of Philly we'd guesstimate at 6-4, 320. Coaches were calling him “Tyson” because he seemed to play with a bit of a mean streak.

Thomas is a powerhouse who seems to lack technique. At one point during one-on-ones, PSU O-line coach Herb Hand pulled him aside, and apparently they were working on just that.

Despite being raw, Thomas was called upon to represent the O-line in what turned out to be the final battle in one-on-ones. He held off a much smaller (and quicker) Vilain to give the offense the win.

Franklin personally put Thomas and Virginia standout Jerry McCargo through flexibility tests.

• Speaking of Franklin personally putting campers through tests, the head coach spent some time with a group of four extremely athletic receivers toward the end of camp.

They were Kai Gary ('16, New Jersey), Demetric Vance ('16, Detroit), Donovan Peoples-Jones ('17, Detroit) and Tarik Black ('17, Connecticut).

After they caught a variety of passes under the direction of receivers coach Josh Gattis, the quartet headed over to the goal post on the outdoor practice field. And Franklin proceeded to have them dunk footballs over the crossbar.

All did so easily and in a variety of ways. This was an extremely athletic bunch.

Not long after camp, Peoples-Jones tweeted that he received an offer from the Lions. His teammate at Cass Tech, defensive back LaVert Hill, made a similar tweet.

• Speaking of passing drills, when the four receivers above were going through them, a pair of young QBs were handling the passing duties.

Hunter Johnson ('17, Indiana) and Kasim Hill ('17, Maryland) both have good arms and good size for how young they are. Johnson is 6-1, 185, while Hill is 6-foot, 210. Both had meetings with Franklin after camp.

• Speaking of meetings with Franklin, safety John Petrishen ('16, Pittsburgh) won an impromptu one-on-one broad jump contest with Rene (just barely). We don't know the exact numbers, but both guys were way out there in a special drill Penn State does.

After it was over, the two shook hands. And Franklin pulled Petrishen aside for a chat.

• Speaking of Franklin chatting with people, two players the PSU staff snapped up shortly before signing day stopped by camp and talked to the head coach for a bit.

Defensive end Torrence Brown is now up to 250 pounds and looks like he could be a factor for the Lions this season.

Meanwhile, defensive back Christian Campbell appears to be every bit of 6-1, 200 pounds.

• Speaking of players with impressive size, Washington, D.C., tight end Devante Brooks ('16) was on hand Sunday. However, he did not participate. He watched the action in street clothes, but spent a fair amount of time chatting with PSU tight ends coach John Donovan.

Brooks, who holds a Penn State offer, said he made the trip with defensive lineman Terrell Hall, his teammate at St. John's College High.

Brooks checks in at 6-6, 235 pounds, so he kind of stood out while watching the action from the sideline.

• Speaking of Hall, he was clearly one of the better defensive ends at camp Sunday. But at 6-5, 218, he has to pack on muscle to play D-end at the major college level.

Like Vilain, Hall had his moments in one-on-ones. Yet there were times when he was overpowered, too.

• Speaking of high school teammates, Penn State Class of 2014 running back Mark Allen of DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md., watched some of the action. He was hanging with his former offensive lineman at DeMatha, Terrance Davis ('16).

Scout lists Davis at 6-4, 310. He appears as if he is even heavier than that now.

From the for-what-it-is-worth department, Allen was not walking around at camp. He was being driven in a golf cart.

• Speaking of people needing a golf cart to get around at camp (OK, we know this one is a stretch), with the action spread over four different fields, we were bound to miss something. In this case, it was the linebackers.

However, we heard very positive things about Koby Quansah (Connecticut, '16) and Ryan Gilmartin (North Carolina, '16).

Both prospects have builds that remind one of a young Mike Hull. That is to say, they are not especially tall. But they are clearly put together.

Both were invited to chat with Franklin after camp.

• Speaking of “after camp,” when things wrapped up, we noticed four-star receiver Cameron Chambers (New Jersey, '16) lurking about. But since he was outfitted in a hat and shirt from a rival network, we refuse to report any more.

Just kidding again. As noted, Chambers was in street clothes, meaning he did not participate in camp. But he could not resist picking up a ball and tossing it with a friend.

We're guessing he's not quite the 6-3 he is listed at in our database. However, he appears be at least 200 pounds. The kid seems to be very well put together.

He spent some time chatting with Hamilton and other current Lions before picking up the pigskin to play catch.

Fight On State Top Stories