Penn State didn’t lose a ton of players to graduation this past offseason, and wide receiver Chris Godwin was the only major player to leave early for the NFL Draft. Quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley will both be in Happy Valley for at least another year, and solid depth on defense means there aren’t aren’t a ton of positions up for grabs as the Nittany Lions prepare for the 2017 season. As a result, there aren’t going to be a ton of true freshman seeing the field for the defending Big Ten champions, and the ones that do will mainly be used to add depth.
The standout recruit of the class is Lamont Wade, a four-star cornerback from Clairton, Pennsylvania. Wade was ranked as the 46th best recruit in the class of 2017 and was rated the 5th best corner in his class by 247Sports. He’s expected to be used to add depth to the Penn State secondary and as an early enrollee, he should be pretty comfortable in the rotation this fall.
Wade was joined in Happy Valley in January by wide receiver KJ Hamler, linebacker Bralin Feison-Walden, and center Michael Miranda. These three won’t be expecting to see the field, as wide receiver, linebacker, and offensive line are some of the deepest positions on Penn State’s roster, so they will have the advantage of learning behind some of the more experienced players on the team.
A few other highlights of the incoming Nittany Lions freshman class include offensive guard CJ Thorpe, who is rated 86th overall and 6th at his position. Sean Clifford is the only quarterback in the class, and he will likely redshirt as McSorley will take the reins of the offense for at least another season, with former IU commit Tommy Stephens as his backup. Clifford is no slouch, however as he is a four-star recruit who was ranked as the 8th best quarterback in the class of 2017. Penn State really made defense a focus when recruiting this class, as 8 of the 11 four-star recruits were defensive players. Wade is the best one of the group, but defensive end Yetur Matos, defensive tackle Fred Hansard, and inside linebacker Ellis Brooks are all solid players who were ranked in the top 15 of their respective positions across the nation.