Where does Penn State stand with top defensive prospects in 2023 Rivals250?
Rivals released its first rendition of the top 250 prospects for the Class of 2023 Tuesday and as expected, the Nittany Lions find themselves seriously in the mix with many of the East Coast's top players.
Although the Mid-Atlantic region is down a bit in terms of overall talent, most of those who do rank high found their way to campus this summer. Out of the 14 players listed below, 12 of them took at least one unofficial visit to Penn State in June or July.
BWI's Ryan Snyder breaks down some of the key defensive players fans should be following closely this fall and into the 2023 cycle.
No. 42 - LB Tackett Curtis
Schools: Penn State, Arkansas, Auburn, Boston College, Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa State, LSU, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Miss. State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin
The Latest - Curtis visited 14 different schools in June. He literally crisscrossed the country, from USC to Penn State and a ton of top schools in between. In addition to PSU, the list includes Arkansas, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.
The Louisiana native hasn't officially narrowed his list of schools yet, but the majority of those programs should make the cut. The fact that he came to State College is a positive sign, but realistically, I see him staying down south. The good thing is that the region is stacked at the linebacker position for 2023, as we're about to discuss.
No. 59 - LB Ta'Mere Robinson
Schools: Penn State, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Tennessee, West Virginia
The Latest - Robinson is the top-ranked player in Pennsylvania and picked up an offer from the Nittany Lions in April 2020, so this relationship has been growing for a while now. Although he predominantly played safety his sophomore year, he's added around 15 to 20 pounds since the start of 2021, so all signs point to linebacker at the next level.
He made two trips to Penn State this summer, attending the staff's junior day on June 5 before returning July 31 for the Lasch Bash Barbecue. Our sources indicated that the staff was excited about its chances with Robinson following that second visit, although it's obviously still pretty early here. Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Pitt all got him on campus this summer, and those four, along with Penn State, should be considered his top five at the moment, although he hasn't officially announced that.
“Literally everything stood out today,” Robinson said following his visit in June. “The facilities, it was my first time seeing them, and the interaction by all of the coaches. But I love the facilities, and they're about to extend the weight room and all that. Everything was just cool to me.”
No. 111 - LB Semaj Bridgeman
Schools: Penn State, Arizona State, Boston College, Cincinnati, Iowa State, LSU, Maryland, Michigan State, Miss. State, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Oregon, Rutgers, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia
The Latest - Just like Robinson, Bridgeman picked up an offer from Penn State in April 2020, so this is another player that the staff has been working on for a while now. At the time, he played for Bishop McDevitt in Wyncote, Pa., but after the school shutdown this summer, he has since transferred to Archbishop Wood, where some of his former coaches are now on staff.
Back in March, Bridgeman told Adam Friedman that Penn State and LSU were the two schools standing out the most. He then came to Penn State twice this summer, visiting first on June 6 - although he was mainly there just to watch camp - before returning June 17 for a more in-depth visit. Rutgers also got him on campus twice this summer, once in June and then again in July. The Scarlett Knights have done a good job with Bridgeman so far, and they will be a player here, but this is someone Penn State should be able to land.
No. 112 - LB Josiah Trotter
Schools: Top 4 - Penn State, Clemson, Ohio State, South Carolina
The Latest - Trotter is the son of former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter. He's ahead of most players at this stage, electing to narrow his list to four schools at the end of June. A commitment doesn't appear to be in the works any time soon, and we expect him to visit all four of those programs again for games this season.
He's another player that Penn State hosted twice this summer, once in June and then again in July for the Lasch Bash Barbecue.
"It was really nice," Trotter said following his visit in June. "Especially how they have the academic center. It's really nice how they have it set up where they help their students and just help them thrive throughout their education. And the football facility, everything is pretty close. You don't have to go super far. It's not like a really open spot. It's just a really beautiful campus."
Trotter's older brother, Jeremiah Jr., will suit up for Clemson this fall, and that's why many believe the Tigers hold an edge here. Ohio State is very much a threat, too, so he won't be easy to land, but getting him back on campus for a second visit was a very important step for Penn State.
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