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 Ohio wideout LIam Clifford.
School: St. Xavier HS (Cincinnati, OH)
Projected position: Receiver
Rating: Four stars by 247sports; Three stars by Rivals.com and ESPN
Other Power 5 offers: Duke, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee
Projection: The connection between Clifford and Penn State is clear: His brother, Sean, is kind of a prominent member of the Nittany Lions offense right now. But Liam Clifford is a pretty good prospect, and the type of kid who can contribute immediately coming out of high school given his more-polished skill set. He’s a better route runner than most of the receivers on Penn State’s roster right now, and he has a good feel for finding soft spots in zone coverage. He knows, probably thanks to growing up with a brother who plays quarterback, the importance of coming back for the ball, and his hands are strong. He will make the contested catch, and he’s slick enough to get to the open spot and expect the ball if a play breaks down. He doesn’t seem to have blazing speed when you watch his film, but he has enough to make himself a threat after the catch, too. He gets off the line well, and he’s quick in space. The whole package made him one of the more productive offensive players in Ohio, and for that, he earned all-state offensive player of the year honors in his division. The Penn State wide receiver corps is young and high on potential, but it isn’t deep, which leaves plenty of opportunity for Clifford to grab a role next fall. He doesn’t have all of his athletic gifts, but Clifford’s playing style and production in a competitive state were quite reminiscent of Parker Washington’s coming out of high school a year ago.
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: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5368; @DonnieCollinsTT