Penn State Football Recruiting: Get to Know the Class of 2021 Commitments
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NSD 2021: Signing Day Central

The early signing period has arrived! Stick with Blue White Illustrated all day as we update who has signed with the Nittany Lions and much more!

Penn State Nittany Lions Football Recruiting Class of 2021
Penn State head coach James Franklin speaks with players and their families during last year's signing day event at the Lasch Building.

Signed Letters of Intent

As Penn State confirms which players have signed throughout the morning, we'll mark each prospect's status here so you can stay up to date.

Offense

QB Christian Veilleux - SIGNED - 9:49 AM

WR Liam Clifford - SIGNED - 8:53 AM

WR Harrison Wallace - SIGNED - 8:27 AM

WR Lonnie White Jr. - SIGNED - 9:03 AM

TE Khalil Dinkins - SIGNED - 9:11 AM

OL Nate Bruce - SIGNED - 9:39 AM

OL Landon Tengwall - SIGNED - 9:27 AM

Defense

DE Rodney McGraw - SIGNED - 7:34 AM

LB Jamari Buddin - SIGNED - 7:44 AM

LB Kobe King - SIGNED - 7:17 AM

CB Jeffrey Davis Jr. - SIGNED - 8:18 AM

CB Kalen King - SIGNED - 7:17 AM

Saf. Zakee Wheatley - SIGNED -7:53 AM

Saf. Jaylen Reed - SIGNED -8:42 AM

Specialist

K Sander Sahaydak - SIGNED -8:35 AM


Zoom Interviews

Penn State head coach met with media around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday after practice. He discussed both recruiting and the team.


Penn State allowed the media to meet with Director of Player Personnel Andy Frank earlier today to discuss a variety of subjects about the Class of 2021.


What To Watch? 

With no visits for 10 months now, and the coaching market in flux later than normal, Penn State is still scouting prospects across the country. James Franklin and his staff began extending new 2021 offers about a month-and-a-half ago, and there's a good chance more will come in the weeks ahead. Many of its top remaining targets, like athlete Calvin Johnson and offensive lineman Austin Uke, plus a handful of defensive ends, plan to not sign this week, meaning you won't hear much about them until January or on National Signing Day, Feb. 3.

However, there are two players that fans should be watching closely from now until the early signing period closes on Friday. The one commitment that we know will take place this week is running back Deshun Murrell from Alabama. However, Murrell, who's deciding between Penn State and UCLA, plans to take a few extra days. He's set to announce Friday at 11 a.m. eastern time. I logged a pick for Penn State over the weekend and I still stand firm with that.

Another player to monitor is defensive tackle George Rooks. This recruitment has been up and down at times, but over the past few days, momentum has been trending in Penn State's direction. Boston College and Michigan are the other two schools to monitor, although it feels as if the Wolverines have faded.

Overall, we expect Penn State to sign 18 or possibly 19 players if everything goes their way. Adding defensive linemen is a key spot, but they also have offers out at running back, wide receiver offensive line and defensive back.


Favorite Stories

- Signing Day Superlatives

- 10 Questions: Get to Know Penn State's Class of 2021

- UPDATED: 12/16 - Class of 2021 Offers Board ($$)

- Column: Why Penn State's 2021 class is better than you think

- Q&A: Veilleux Opens Up About Kirk Ciarrocca, Recruiting Other Players & More

- Watch every catch from Liam Clifford's 300-yard, 2 TD Game vs. St. Ignatius

- Pike Road head coach opens up about Harrison Wallace & Penn State

- Q&A: OL Landon Tengwall Opens Up About Penn State Commitment

- Q&A: Zakee Wheatley Opens Up About Commitment


By The Numbers

Total Commitments: 15

Total Points Accumulated: 1,459

Rivals.com Team Ranking: 26

Average Star Rating: 3.4 (16th overall)

Average Points Per Player: 97.3 (17th overall)

Rivals250 Prospects: 3

Four-Star Prospects: 6

Three-Star Prospects: 9

Offense: 7

Defense: 7

Special Teams: 1

Early Enrollees: (Bruce, Davis, King, King, McGraw, Tengwall, Veilleux)

Different States: 7 (Alabama, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania)

Top-Ranked Player: Landon Tengwall (No. 38)

Tallest Player: Landon Tengwall (6-6)

Biggest Player: Nate Bruce (325 pounds)

Shortest Player: Kalen King (5-11)

Smallest Player: Kalen King (175 pounds)


Previous Classes

2020 - 27 Players - 15th Overall

2019 - 23 Players - 11th Overall

2018 - 23 Players - 5th Overall

2017 - 21 Players - 12th Overall

2016 - 20 Players - 21st Overall

2015 - 25 Players - 15th Overall

2014 - 24 Players - 24th Overall

2013 - 16 Players - 43rd Overall

2012 - 19 Players - 52nd Overall

2011 - 16 Players - 35th Overall

2010 - 19 Players - 12th Overall

2009 - 27 Players - 24th Overall

2008 - 14 Players - 43rd Overall

2007 - 21 Players - 24th Overall

2006 - 24 Players - 6th Overall

2005 - 19 Players - 25th Overall

2004 - 25 Players - 14th Overall

2003 - 11 Players - 92nd Overall

2002 - 22 Players - 21st Overall


Meet the Class of 2021

Offense

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Kirk Ciarrocca, Tyler Bowen

Total Visits: 3

Q&A: Veilleux opens up about Kirk Ciarrocca & much more

Film Evaluation: Christian Veilleux

A native of Canada, Veilleux attended Canisius High School in Buffalo, N.Y., before electing to transfer to the Bullis School in Potomac, Md., for his junior season. In June 2019, he camped with Ricky Rahne and the rest of Penn State's coaching staff and left town with a scholarship offer. Overall, Veilleux earned 23 scholarship offers between February 2018 and April 2020. Clemson and LSU were the last two schools to jump into the mix this past spring. Clemson ended up making his top four, along with Duke, Penn State and Tennessee. Veilleux admitted in the end that his decision, which was announced on April 29, came down to Duke and Penn State. Veilleux didn't play this season. He totaled just over 2,000 yards passing and 29 touchdowns in 2019. He's now set to enroll at Penn State for the spring semester.

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Taylor Stubblefield

Total Visits: 5

Liam Clifford announces commitment to Penn State

Film Evaluation: Liam Clifford

The younger brother of Sean Clifford, Liam committed to the Nittany Lions in October 2019. If you don't include TE Nick Elksnis, who will sign elsewhere, he was the second prospect to commit in the class, announcing just a day after offensive lineman Nate Bruce. Both attended the White Out against Michigan last season and committed before driving home. Clifford is coming off a record-breaking season at St. Xavier. In addition to winning a state championship, he became his team's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. A three-year starter, he totaled 166 receptions for 2,538 yards and 30 touchdowns. He was the Player of the Year in Cincinnati's Greater Catholic League, as well as Offensive Player of the Year for all of Ohio's Division I.

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Taylor Stubblefield, Terry Smith

Total Visits: 0

Pike Road head coach opens up about Harrison Wallace & Penn State

Wallace transferred to Pike Road to play basketball in the summer of 2019. He wound up giving football a try, and it proved to be a great decision. He had a solid first season and then really blew up this year, totaling 1,130 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns in 10 games. In October, Duke, Tulane and South Carolina all offered, and he wasted little time following up on the opportunity, committing to Duke just days later. The Nittany Lions offered in November, along with Maryland and Virginia. By the beginning of December, it became clear that Penn State was the team to beat, and on Dec. 7 he officially announced his decision to flip to Penn State. Wallace will play in the Alabama North-South All-Star Game this coming weekend.

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Taylor Stubblefield

Total Visits: 1

Film Evaluation: Lonnie White Jr.

White is arguably the best athlete in Penn State's class. Growing up as a three-sport star, he was recognized first for baseball, committing to Clemson to play outfield in October 2019. After playing wide receiver as a sophomore, he was forced to play quarterback for Malvern Prep his junior season, and that's when schools across the country really noticed his athleticism. Two dozen schools ultimately offered, with Penn State making the move in April. It only took White three weeks to decide, as he committed to the Nittany Lions on May 7. He's also projected to be chosen this summer in the Major League Baseball draft. White hasn't completely ruled out baseball if he's drafted high enough, but he has consistently said that his focus is on football. White earned all-state recognition this season. He scored six touchdowns in four games.

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Tyler Bowen, Terry Smith

Total Visits: 2

Film Evaluation: Khalil Dinkins

Dinkins earned an offer from the Nittany Lions in February when it became clear that Elksnis was headed elsewhere. Penn State instantly became one of his favorites, along with Pitt, which is the school his father, former NFL TE Darnell Dinkins, attended. He patiently waited throughout the spring and summer, hoping to visit more schools, but once it became clear that wasn't going to happen, Dinkins committed to the Nittany Lions in October. Dinkins was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Fabulous 22 this season. He's the second North Allegheny player to come to Penn State in the past few years, joining Joey Porter Jr.

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Brent Pry, Phil Trautwein

Total Visits: 10

Nate Bruce will go down as Penn State's first commitment in the 2021 class, having announced his decision while in attendance for the game against Michigan in October 2019. He earned an offer from the staff just three months earlier while in attendance for the Lasch Bash barbecue. Overall, he earned 10 scholarship offers, with West Virginia and Virginia Tech providing most of the competition. He's also the third prospect from Harrisburg High to come to Penn State in the past five years. Bruce was named to the Patriot-News' All-Pennsylvania team in both 2019 and 2020. He'll enroll at Penn State for the spring semester.

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Phil Trautwein, Tyler Bowen

Total Visits: 10

Q&A: OL Landon Tengwall opens up about Penn State commitment

Film Evaluation: Landon Tengwall

One of the leaders of the 2021 class, Tengwall earned an offer shortly after his freshman season in February 2018. It was extended to him while on campus for a junior day visit. He called it "one of the best experiences of my life." By the summer of 2019, the Nittany Lions were already considered the favorites, with Michigan and Notre Dame rounding out his top three. He went on to commit to Penn State in March 2020, kickstarting a run of nine commitments that lasted until early May. Tengwall was selected to play in the 2021 All-American Bowl. He was also a two-time USA Today All-American, and he'll enroll at Penn State for the spring semester.


Defense

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: John Scott Jr., Tim Banks

Total Visits: 1

Film Evaluation: Rodney McGraw

McGraw earned an offer from Penn State in September 2019, and he visited a month later, attending the White Out game against Michigan. He wound up committing to Indiana in January but continued to stay in contact with Penn State's staff throughout the spring. Then, following a coaching change on Tom Allen's staff, McGraw flipped his commitment to the Nittany Lions in May. In 2020, he put together his best season yet, totaling 91 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He had 73 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and nine sacks as a junior. McGraw earned all-state recognition in both seasons. He was a late addition to Penn State'e early enrollee list.

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Tim Banks, Brent Pry

Total Visits: 3

Film Evaluation: Jamari Buddin

Buddin emerged in the summer of 2019, when he and his Belleville teammates attended Penn State's 7-on-7 camp. Tim Banks and Brent Pry had been monitoring him prior to that, but watching him move up-close helped get the ball moving, and Banks wound up offering him two weeks after that camp. Buddin made two additional trips to Penn State, attending last year's White Out win over Michigan, then again Feb. 1 for what proved to be the final junior day before the pandemic shut recruiting down. Like so many other prospects, he held out throughout the spring and summer, hoping to visit schools at some point, but come July, Buddin was ready to shut it all down. His decision ultimately came down to Penn State, Michigan State and Minnesota. He announced for the Nittany Lions on July 17. This season, Buddin helped lead Belleville to a 9-0 record before the state halted high school athletics. He totaled 50 tackles, eight tackles for loss and two sacks, earning first-team all-conference and all-district honors. In 2019, Buddin was named all-league, all-district and all-state.

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Tim Banks, Brent Pry

Total Visits: 2

Film Evaluation: LB Kobe King

Kobe and Kalen King attended Penn State for the first time in April 2019 to see the Blue-White Game. Kobe earned an offer from the staff a few months later in June, and the brothers returned to Penn State for a junior day in January. Come spring, the brothers narrowed their list to Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin, and they wound up committing to the Nittany Lions on April 10. Before Michigan shut down high school athletics, King had totaled 58 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and two sacks. He also had a big impact on offense, rushing for more than 1,000 yards while also scoring eight touchdowns. Cass Tech was undefeated at 8-0 and was preparing to play Belleville in the Division I quarterfinals. In 2019, King was named the Detroit Public League Linebacker of the Year. He'll enroll at Penn State for the spring semester.

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Tim Banks, Brent Pry

Total Visits: 2

Film Evaluation: Jeffrey Davis Jr.

Davis earned an offer from Penn State in November 2019 while on campus for a game. That was actually his second trip, as he previously camped with Franklin and his staff in July. Like a few other committed players, he returned to Penn State one last time in February 2020 for what proved to be the final junior day before on-campus recruiting was halted. A versatile player, Davis totaled 14 scholarships for both defensive back and wide receiver. He decided to end his recruitment in April after Zakee Wheatley, Jaylen Reed and Kalen King had already announced, assuring that he wasn't going to miss out on his top school. Davis wasn't able to play this season, but he was a two-time all-league selection. Last season, he totaled 36 tackles and three interceptions on defense, as well as 600 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns on offense. He also earned all-New England honors for track, running the 100-meter and 200-meter races.

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Tim Banks, Brent Pry

Total Visits: 2

Film Evaluation: CB Kalen King

Kalen and his brother Kobe attended Penn State for the first time in April 2019 to see the Blue-White Game. Their visit came just about two weeks after Kalen earned an offer from the Nittany Lion coaching staff. Both would return to Penn State again in January for one of the final junior days before recruiting was halted. In April, the brothers narrowed their list to seven schools, although Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin were really the three they chose between. Kalen and Kobe announced their commitments together just a week later on April 10. Before Michigan shut down high school athletics, King had totaled 18 tackles, five pass breakups and three interceptions. He also scored 10 touchdowns on offense. Cass Tech was undefeated at 8-0 and was preparing to play Buddin and Belleville in the Division I quarterfinals. King will enroll at Penn State for the spring semester.

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Tyler Bowen, Terry Smith

Total Visits: 4

Film Evaluation: Saf. Zakee Wheatley

Wheatley earned an offer from the Nittany Lions in June 2019. He visited for the first time the following month, attending the Lasch Bash barbecue, and that's what really put Penn State in the pole position with he and his family. Wheatley went on to visit three more times, attending two games and a personal day with the staff last December. He eventually narrowed his list to eight schools in March and would go on to commit to Penn State in April. A three-year letterman, Wheatley totaled 30 tackles, seven pass breakups and five interceptions in 2019. He played just two games this year and had two touchdowns and two interceptions. In addition to all-city and all-county accolades, Wheatley was selected to play in the Big 33. He also lettered in basketball and baseball.

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Tim Banks, Brent Pry

Total Visits: 1

Penn State lands four-star Detroit safety Jaylen Reed

FIlm Evaluation: Jaylen Reed

Reed earned an offer from the staff in February 2019. He was only ever able to take one visit to Penn State, which took place this past January, but that proved to be enough in the end, as Reed wound up committing to the Nittany Lions in April. Michigan State was believed to be PSU's top competitor. Playing linebacker in 2019, Reed put up some very impressive numbers, totaling 119 tackles, eight forced fumbles and six sacks. In a shortened 2020 season, he had 68 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles. Michigan postponed all fall sports, but if the football season resumes, King is scheduled to play in the Division III quarterfinals.


Specialists

Status: Signed

Lead Recruiters: Joe Lorig

Total Visits: 2

Sahaydak is the nation's top kicking prospect according to Kohl's Kicking. After camping with the staff in the summer of 2019, he was the first specialist they offered for the Class of 2021. It didn't take long for Sahaydak to make up his mind, committing to the Nittany Lions 11 days after he received the offer, April 29. Over the past two seasons, he converted 15 of 22 field goals, including multiple makes from beyond 50 yards. Also, almost all of his misses were from 40 yards and longer. Sahaydak was a first-team all-state player according to MaxPreps.


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