As they navigate the uncharted territory brought about by the cancellation of spring practice, Penn State football coaches might be learning that one thing hasn’t changed.
Spring is still prime recruiting time in Happy Valley.
On Friday, Penn State received verbal commitments from highly regarded Detroit twins — cornerback Kalen King and linebacker Kobe King — the day after receiving a commitment from safety Jaylen Reed. Kalen King and Reed are rated as four-star prospects by both Rivals.com and 247sports.com, giving the Nittany Lions their second and third four-star verbal commitment since the shutdown began last month. Four-star offensive lineman Landon Tengwall verbally committed to the program March 26.
The King brothers starred at powerhouse Cass Tech in Detroit. A 6-foot, 195-pounder from Martin Luther King High School in Detroit, Reed chose Penn State over Florida, Georgia, Michigan State, Oregon and USC. Both Rivals and 247sports rank him as the
No. 10 safety in the 2021 class.
Kalen King is ranked among the top 25 cornerbacks in the nation by both services; Kobe King, a three-star prospect, is among the top 20 inside linebackers. Both were being pursued by more than two dozen programs, including Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin.
“We visited Penn State a few times,” Kalen King said after making the announcement on 247sports’ Youtube channel. “Every time we were there, the coaches showed us a lot of love.”
Penn State’s Blue-White Game, which was scheduled for April 18 before its cancellation, is typically one of the biggest events of the year from a recruiting standpoint. But with spring games nixed around the nation and the likelihood of recruiting being impacted if shutdowns extend into the fall, it has led a slew of the nation’s top prospects evaluating whether to commit based on the visits they’ve made.
It’s a trend that may continue until campuses return to some bit of normalcy.
“If the young man has been on your campus multiple times, or any campus multiple times, I think he may be more inclined to make a decision just because of the familiarity,” Penn State safeties coach Tim Banks said. “Then some of the (other) ones that you’re recruiting, that you may not have had the opportunity to have on campus, you develop a nice relationship by social media and technology. Those guys are hoping that once this thing is under control, they’ll have an opportunity to visit.”
Donnie Collins has been a member of The Times-Tribune sports staff for nearly 20 years and has been the Penn State football beat writer for Times-Shamrock Newspapers since 2004. The Penn State Football Blog covers Nittany Lions, Big Ten and big-time college football news from Beaver Stadium to the practice field, the bowl game to National Letter of Intent Signing Day. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5368; @DonnieCollinsTT