Allen Trieu / Scout

Where Penn State stands with Midwest targets

Penn State has several remaining targets with scholarship offers in the Midwest. Scout takes a look at the Nittany Lions' chances with each here.

Penn State is in his final five along with Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee, Michigan State and Penn State. There is some question about how much room at the inn there is at Ohio State and Alabama too with their recent commitment from Jerry Jeudy. Tennessee has three wide receiver commitments as well. That leads us to believing that, barring a big change, the real battle is between Penn State and Michigan State. Both schools have hosted Harris recently. Right now, we believe the Spartans have an edge. But they took four receivers a year ago and have two committed now. The depth chart is more in Penn State's favor and the Nittany Lions are definitely well within striking distance.

Over the years, Penn State has done pretty well at Orchard Lake St. Mary's (Rob Bolden, Allen Robinson) but Hamler is now at IMG Academy. Before he went south, he had a good visit to Penn State and they are on his short list. However, there remains a good chance he goes West with Oregon and Arizona as the two main options there. Iowa State, Michigan State and Tennessee also remain in the hunt. He plans to take all of his officials, and there is a good chance PSU is one of them, but they'll have to blow him away to have a real chance at getting his signing day signature in our estimation.

At various points in time, it has looked like Davis was headed to the Big Ten, but to other schools. Michigan State and Wisconsin are two of those programs. With their board being shifted, MSU looks like less of an option at this time. He's going to take his officials, we expect Penn State to be one. Kentucky and West Virginia are two more schools to watch. That said, he said his last visit to Happy Valley, in June, gave him chills and that it felt like home. He's not expected to decide until Winter, but Penn State has a great shot here going into the Fall.

Hippenhammer should be deciding soon. His first game is August 19th and he'd like to get a decision done by then, but left the door open to take it later if he needed to. But we do not expect him to take that extra time. Iowa, Wake Forest and Michigan State are the other schools in the mix. He had a good visit to Penn State in July but he came back from Iowa saying they had a slight advantage and unless something has changed, it is likely he will be a Hawkeye.

Reeves is a top target, and he should be -- we think he's one of the real potential difference makers left on the board in the Midwest. Penn State is in this one, and Steubenville being in Eastern Ohio, he's relatively close to campus. That is part of the reason Pitt is also in the mix. That said, the school that is trending right now is Syracuse. He visits this week. If he leaves campus without committing, then it's game on. But there's a chance he pulls the trigger for the Cuse while there.

Oladipo visited for the Lasch Bash and had a good visit. Even though he has named a top six, that, in my opinion, puts PSU as one of a couple schools on that list who has the best chance. Right now, the leader in the clubhouse is Illinois, who is in-state, has had him up to campus and has a defensive minded coach in Lovie Smith. That said, we think PSU is right there and maybe the school in the best position to pull a minor upset and wrestle him away from the Illini.

Like Oladipo, Ward has five or six schools that he's looking closely at, but of those schools, there are a few we think have better shots than the rest. Penn State would fall in that group for Ward as well. He had a really good visit to Penn State the first time around. He wants to get back for an official and we expect him to do that. Virginia Tech has a good chance because friend and teammate Kalil Pimpleton is committed there, but Ward won't pick a school just to play with his friend. Nebraska is another school that really has his attention, so while Arizona, Iowa State and Washington State still remain in the race, to us, this is a Nittany Lion-Hokie-Cornhusker battle with the official visits as a big factor.

Johnson has blown up this offseason. Penn State has been in on this one for awhile and Tim Banks is a Detroit guy who knows the city well. Johnson has been out to campus before, and plans to be back for an official. He will also visit Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Arizona officially with one open spot sill for another visit. We do not expect him to decide until the Winter. He is pretty open to any of those schools going into the officials, which will be important to winning this race.

Many expected Nelson to commit to Michigan State by now, but he's remained open to other schools, including Penn State. That said, if he doesn't pick MSU, we hear he's more likely to end up in the Big Ten West at a place like Iowa, Wisconsin or Northwestern. Watch out for the Wildcats in that one. They were the first to offer and that was well before other Big Ten programs did and the academics there will provide a lot of pull for him towards Evanston.

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