Penn State’s Stripe Out game against Rutgers at Beaver Stadium last weekend was about more than just beating the Scarlet Knights, 28-3. It also gave plenty of recruits a chance to check out the charged-up atmosphere in Happy Valley.
Here are some reactions from high school underclassmen:
Class of 2017
• St. Xavier (Ohio) QB Sean Clifford, the lone PSU commit for this class so far, was on hand with his teammate, offensive lineman Matt Bockhorst.
“The visit was amazing,” Clifford said. “The atmosphere at Beaver Stadium stood out. By far the best place I’ve been to.”
Asked if the Stripe Out took the atmosphere to another level, he said, “It really did.”
Clifford said he bonded well with the other recruits and commits during his first game visit in Beaver Stadium.
• Harrisburg (Pa.) High defensive end Damion Barber spoke briefly on the visit.
“The visit was good,” he said. “Everything about the visit stood out to me.”
Barber (6-foot-4, 220 pound) is a four-star prospect who claims to have no favorites, but Penn State is in very good position for him.
• Clairton (Pa.) High four-star cornerback Lamont Wade was also on hand and told us he enjoyed the visit.
• Per a source, we were told Pittsburgh Central Catholic linebacker David Adams really enjoyed his visit to Happy Valley. Penn State may have moved itself near the top of the list for the 6-2, 225-pound) prospect
Class of 2018
• Harrisburg (Pa.) High sophomore wide receiver Shaquon Anderson-Butts returned to Happy Valley after his trip during summer for Lasch Bash. He received an offer on the previous visit and
“Shortly after the visit, I thought about committing to Penn State,” he said. “I’m about 50 percent sure on committing after (this) visit, but I want to wait to see what other schools enter my recruitment and see if I get the same feeling as I do at PSU.”
Anderson-Butts and Clifford have become good friends. In fact, Clifford is trying to get the Harrisburg product start off the 2018 class for Penn State.
• Westerville South (Ohio) High sophomore running back Jaelen Gill took in the first game at Beaver Stadium. The 6-1, 180-pound four-star standout came away impressed about everything about Penn State.
“I had a blast at PSU,” he said. “Everyone on staff knew my name. College kids knew my name, as well. The coaching staff showed tremendous amount of love and I got some time to speak with Coach (James) Franklin.
“He said they’re excited about me and he will be coming to one of my games,” Gill added. “He also said he can’t wait for me be a Nittany Lion.”
Gill arrived at PSU the day after posting 28 carries for 302 yards rushing and scoring five touchdowns for Westerville South.
“My top five in my recruitment are Michigan State, Tennessee, Ohio State, Penn State and Kentucky,” he said. “No one is standing out amongst those five.”
• Camp Hill (Pa.) sophomore tight end Zack Kuntz left the visit with an offer from Penn State. Kuntz (6-7, 215 pound) is the younger brother of former Nittany Lion Christian Kuntz and current student Brandon Kuntz.
“I was delightfully surprised by the offer,” the younger Kuntz said. “The offer puts Penn State toward the top, but I don’t have a favorite.”
As for future visiting plans? “I might visit Penn State again soon. But if not, I’m going to be coming up for the Michigan game.
Kuntz also has plans to visit Ohio State and Michigan.
• Sachse (Texas) High had three recruits visiting Happy Valley for the Rutgers game. Isaiah Humphries, a 5-11, 175-pound safety, gave the lowdown.
“It was great,” he said. “The Stripe Out they had was really nice and the student section was White Out, and really hype and loud. It was nothing like anything else I’ve seen before. The campus is huge and really nice. The facilities are great.
“I talked to Coach (Terry) Smith and Coach Franklin,” he added. “I mostly talked to Coach Smith because he’s the one who has been interested in me. He was saying that he likes my film. He also said keep up the good work.
Was an offer floated?
“They didn’t mention an offer just yet, but this is the second time I’ve been up there,” Humphries said. “I went to the Blue-White Game last spring and they invited me back for this game. When I arrived for this visit, the staff told me they would love me to come back for a third visit to Happy Valley. It’s very rare for them to invite people from Texas and places from across the country to come play for them or visit them.
Teammates Jalen Mayden, a QB who already has a PSU offer, and cornerback Nick Alexander, who does not have an offer.
“For the most part, Jalen and Nick seemed to have a good time at Penn State,” Humphries said
Humphries said his top five includes UCLA, Baylor, Stanford, Ohio State and Penn State. He is still waiting on his first offer, though.