Zakee Wheatley

Courtesy of Penn State Athletics

Today, as the early National Letter of Intent signing day period kicks off, most — if not all — of the newest members of the Penn State recruiting class will sign on the dotted line, accepting a scholarship to play football for the Nittany Lions. For every player who does sign, I’ll be here to provide an in-depth scouting report. Here is my report on at defensive back with plenty of tools, Zakee Wheatley.

Height: 6-2
Weight: 180
School: Archbishop Spalding HS (Severn, Md.)
Projected position: Safety

Rating: Four stars by and ESPN; Three stars by 247sports

Other offers: Boston College, Duke, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

Projection: Wheatley is the biggest upside player Penn State landed among defensive backs in this class. He has the size and long arms to play either safety or cornerback, and he was one of the better receivers in Maryland, too. He shows bursts of speed, and he’s a terrific athlete. He understands pass routes and gets his head around early enough to play the ball. Wheatley is the type of player who, if he reaches his potential, can be a difference-maker when it comes to forcing turnovers. The biggest issue might be how he’d play the run as a safety. He looks like more of a cover corner, but if Penn State wants to develop him at safety, where his skill set probably projects best, he’s going to need to get much stronger in the weight room. If he does, you’re looking at a multi-year starter and an explosive threat.