Penn State Recruiting Mailbag: Dani Dennis-Sutton, 2023 commits, linebackers & more
{{ timeAgo('2021-07-16 10:22:46 -0500') }} football Edit

Friday Mailbag: Where does Penn State stand with Dani Dennis-Sutton?

Blue White Illustrated's Ryan Snyder opened up his Twitter notifications this week for fans to ask any recruiting question they'd like.

July has already seen a flurry of commitments, with six new players committing in the beginning of the month, plus the additions of Harvard transfer Spencer Rolland and 2023 prospect Alex Birchmeier earlier this week.

Currently, all eyes are on RB Kaytron Allen and CB Jordan Allen, who are set to decide over the next two days. Of course, Penn State's top overall prospect, Dani Dennis-Sutton, will announce next Thursday, July 22.

Let's start it off there.

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Five-star defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton will announce his commitment next Thursday, July 22.
Five-star defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton will announce his commitment next Thursday, July 22.

- DDS update? @kA_Millli

- Dani Dennis Sutton completely gone to Georgia @shakeNBlake1515

- The big one. What’s the latest with DDS? Any word on which way he’s leaning? @BCPSU

Lots of questions about Dani Dennis-Sutton this week, which is no surprise. We're less than a week out now from potentially Penn State's biggest commitment since Micah Parsons.

I'll get right to the point: I logged a Penn State FutureCast pick for Dennis-Sutton this morning. I don't believe it's a done deal, but I definitely feel better about Penn State's chances now than I did two weeks ago. That I'm confident in saying.

I had a good talk with Dennis-Sutton two weeks ago, and I left it thinking that he was still very much undecided, but also that Georgia was giving him a lot to think about. After everything that Penn State had done up until that point, it just didn't give me a great feeling.

With this being a free mailbag, I can't get into all the reasons that I feel better about Penn State's chances now. That's why we have a message board and subscribers. I'll discuss that with those in the Lions Den, but I will say that I'm firmly leaning towards Penn State now.

One thing I will share is that James Franklin and his staff have done everything they can here. The entire coaching staff is recruiting Dennis-Sutton at this stage, and from what I'm hearing, it's gone well over the past 10 days.

- Other 2023s that could commit early? @andrewrubin24

With Alex Birchmeier announcing his commitment yesterday, that'll absolutely grab the attention of other 2023 prospects. I've always thought that this class could produce an excellent group on offensive linemen, and I think it's possible that a few of those players could be the next to jump on board.

The most notable of that group is Antonio Tripp from McDonogh in Baltimore. I actually wrote about this in my commitment impact story following Birchmeier's decision. Tripp has always been a player that I've had circled for a potential early commitment. We also know that he's become friendly with Birchmeier over the past year, so that all bodes well for the Lions.

Now, whether it'll be in the next few weeks, a month or two, or maybe even longer, it's tough to say, but if you gave me three or four players to choose from prior to Birchmeier's commitment in regards to who would be the first to commit in 2023, Tripp would've been part of that group. I know Neumann Goretti defensive back Shawn Battle had a great visit in June, so he was someone I was watching at the time. That talk has kind of died down since then, but I will watch him closely when he visits again.

A sleeper pick here is another offensive lineman: Alabama native Koby Keenum. I interviewed Keenum a few weeks ago and he raved about the visit. I know he's been speaking with Birchmeier regularly, too. I'm much more confident in picking Tripp over Keenum when it comes to who could potentially commit next, but Penn State really impressed he and his family, making him a name to remember in the months ahead.

- With the influx of commitments since July 4th weekend, how many more scholarships are realistically available in this cycle? @cntry_kid

We know they can definitely take a full class, so as long as they continue to hit on their top prospects in the weeks ahead, all signs point them taking 25 this year. I expect everything to go to plan this weekend (I have FutureCasts in for both Kaytron Allen & Jordan Allen), and that should leave Franklin and his staff with five scholarships left, four of which should be used on the defensive side. We know they would like to add a defensive end, one linebacker, one cornerback and a safety.

We also can't forget about Cristian Driver, who has already locked in a commitment date for July 29 and appears to firmly be leaning towards Penn State. I'm listing him as a true athlete moving forward. Wide receiver or safety is realistic.

If that all falls into place, then you have to consider them potentially going up to 26 or maybe even 27 if players like WR Darrius Clemons or OL Andre Roye want to jump on board later on. There are a few other players, too.

A lot of it will depend on who commits and when they commit. From this point forward, every new commitment impacts the staff at other positions, so it's hard to say who exactly will fill out the class, but if they get to 24 or 25 and still have top players out there, they'll give serious consideration to going over.

- With Moses Walker off to Rutgers, where does PSU stand on linebacker options? @nittany_nation

With Keon Wylie committed, Penn State knows that they have a true outside linebacker prospect on board, so finding someone to potentially play middle linebacker shouldn't be too hard. There are plenty of prospects out there, including Jaishawn Barham and Abdul Carter.

Shawn Murphy doesn't quite project as a middle linebacker, but he's another top prospect who still appears to be considering the Lions. There's talk that he may visit Penn State in July, so if he makes that trip, we have to keep an eye on him moving forward.

Realistically, Carter makes the most sense to me. He's in no rush to decide, but if scholarships get tight, he may have to move his decision date up to make it work. Barham also wouldn't surprise me, because we do believe Penn State and Maryland make the most sense with him, but he's also very quiet, so it's hard to know where he's truly leaning.


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