2017 National Signing Day Preview

Story posted January 31, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Zach Seyko

National Signing Day is upon us, and Penn State head coach James Franklin is looking to cap off a successful recruiting season. 

The Nittany Lions currently have the nation’s No. 15 recruiting class and the third best class in the Big Ten, according to 247 Sports. Franklin is entering his fourth year at Penn State and bringing in what could be his best class ever.

Although 2015 saw Saquon Barkley, John Reid, Juwan Johnson and Manny Bowen sign, 2017’s group of young talent could be the extra push that Franklin and Co. need to pave their way to National Championship.

As of right now, Penn State has four players enrolled from the 2017 class. Cornerback Lamont Wade, wide receiver KJ Hamler, outside linebacker Brelin Faison-Walden and Michael Miranda opted to attend Penn State early.

Franklin has 15 other hard commits that are expected to pen their signature on the dotted line to be a part of Penn State football.

Let’s take an early look at some of the most anticipated members of this squad, including the top rated recruit, a player to watch for and a player who could turn heads on Feb. 1 and sign unexpectedly with Penn State.

The top-rated recruit: four-star cornerback Lamont Wade.

Wade hails from Clairton, Pa. and stands at 5’9’’, but plays much larger than he looks. Wade possesses incredible coverage skills that can shut down shifty receivers who run through the Big Ten.

The nation’s No. 5 corner has amazing field vision, which helps him avoid blockers and find the ball quickly and successfully. Wade also makes up for his lack of size with his physical prowess and tackling abilities.

Wade could see some action on special teams, as he was used as a running back and return man in high school, where he was extremely affective with the ball.

Wade will take advantage of his early enrollment and assimilate to the game faster and make an impact in a secondary that desperately needs help.

The player to watch for: four-star quarterback Sean Clifford.

It is hard to argue against the thought that quarterback is the most important position on the football field. Penn State is welcoming Sean Clifford, the heir to the throne that is held by rising junior Trace McSorley.

Clifford is a dual-threat quarterback out Cincinnati that is very familiar with the spread offense, which will bode well for the young athlete. Clifford owns a cannon for an arm, but what separates him from the competition are his ball carrier vision and speed.

 

McSorley is going to be around for at least two more seasons, which provides Clifford the perfect opportunity to redshirt and learn under one of the Penn State leaders.

 

The unexpected signer: four-star wide receiver Mark Webb.

 

Mark Webb is verbally committed to Georgia and head coach Kirby Smart’s program, but the receiver has been rumored to flip to Penn State on National Signing Day after visiting Happy Valley on Jan. 27.

 

Webb resides in Warminster, Pa. and might be having second thoughts about purchasing a one-way ticket to Athens, Ga. 

Webb has all the traits that coaches dream of when searching for a quality wide receiver. Webb is an excellent route runner with soft hands, but if he signs with Penn State, he must be ready to lace up his cleats to compete in Franklin’s crowded receiving corps. 

Flipping Webb away from Georgia could push Penn State up the recruiting class rankings. The Warminster native would be a fantastic last-minute addition to a class that only contains one four-star and two three-star wide receivers.

 

Zach Seyko is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in communication arts & sciences. To contact him, email zachseyko@msn.com.