But at Penn State, Jan. 11 marked a day when seven recruits officially joined the program, even though they will never sign letters of intent.
The seven athletes have all enrolled for the spring semester, which began Jan. 11, and as such they are already athletically bound to Penn State. So there will be no reason for them to sign LOIs next month.
FOS went to program observers to get some initial assessments on the newest additions to the PSU football program.
Dakota Royer, LB/DE: The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Royer is coming off an impressive performance at the Under Armour All-American Bowl game held in Orlando a few weeks ago. FOS caught up with Royer at the UA practices.
In terms of early thoughts, "He's got a good frame and big body, but [the coaches] will probably want to get some more weight on him in order to get over to [defensive] end."
Royer is penciled in to start his career at outside linebacker with the possibility to play the speed-end role similar to Aaron Maybin. Although observers don't think he's the most intimidating player to look at, they say "he's shown some quickness and athleticism." He's got good endurance and "a great attitude; confident, but pretty humble."
Kyle Baublitz, DE/TE: Although Baublitz played a good amount of middle linebacker in high school, PSU will likely station him at defensive end. At 6-4 and about 255 pounds, Baublitz has "decent size." He's also shown an ability to move despite his large frame.
"He's not going to be tearing up sprints, but he runs well for his build," an observer said. "It looks like he'll have to work on his footwork and quickness on cuts to make a corner, but he can move."
Baublitz has shown he has decent strength, but "J.T. (strength coach John Thomas) will have him working his back and legs a lot more so he can get low in his stance and really get some leverage."
Silas Redd, RB: Redd is coming off his stint in the U.S. Army Bowl game in San Antonio a week or so ago. "There's always some concern with those guys since they sometimes have an ego thinking they have been with the best of the best," an observer reported. "I personally have not seen anything like that with Redd yet."
"He's not huge," another observer shared. "But he's really put together pretty well." At 5-10, 190 pounds, Redd is similar size to Stephfon Green. "He's supposed to be quick. I haven't seen him run, but others have said he's fast." As another observer explained, "He's a rock."
Redd is said to have good strength and "has been pretty serious out of the gate."
Khairi Fortt, LB: Fortt is another Army All-American who arrived on campus this week. "He was holding that head up high, but I think J.T. has knocked him for a loop — it's a shock to most guys the first time (in the PSU weight room)."
At 6-2, about 220 pounds, Fortt is "built well" and "ripped," as one observer put it. "They'll have him work his legs, but he passes the looks test with his upper-body."
Fortt is said to have good speed and early assessments indicate he "he has a good foundation to build from, we'll see how his technique is." As one observer said, "Fortt's physique reminds me a bit of Gerald Hodges -- similar build, really put together and similar speed. Now if he can play like Hodges, that'll be a good start."
Stay tuned for out next installment, when we get the lowdown on the remaining early enrollees.
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