Here are my picks for Penn State’s best offensive players since I began covering the team in 1994. York Daily Record
Penn State landed the next piece of what could be a legendary offensive line recruiting haul.
Though college football’s main operations have been shuttered during the new coronavirus outbreak, high school recruits are still announcing verbal commitments. And none came bigger in recent months for the Nittany Lions than Thursday’s call from Maryland.
It should prove to be the first rarefied 5-star offensive line recruit for coach James Franklin since arriving at Penn State — with one or two more possibly to come in this cycle.
Landon Tengwall, one of the top-rated offensive tackles in the nation, chose Penn State over Notre Dame.
The Good Counsel High prospect is Maryland’s No. 1 recruit and is one of the top 50 overall recruits nationally, according to 247Sports.
More importantly, he could be another part of an epic offensive line haul for Franklin and first-year position coach Phil Trautwein — at least in terms of star power, if not numbers.
Continued improvement along both lines arguably could be the last missing piece for the Nittany Lions’ ascension into the College Football Playoffs.
Tengwall (6-foot-6, 300 pounds) claimed scholarship offers from a roll call of the nation’s supreme programs — Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU and Ohio State, to name a few.
But it appears his long relationship with Franklin and the Penn State staff and operations made all of the difference.
Next up for Penn State: Even higher-rated 5-star offensive tackles Nolan Rucci (Lancaster County) and Tristan Leigh (Virginia) have the Lions high on their short lists; 4-star Michigan OL prospects Rocco Spindler and Garrett Dellinger reportedly regard the Lions highly, as well.
Tengwall is Penn State’s third member of its 2021 recruiting class, joining receiver Liam Clifford (Sean Clifford’s brother) and Harrisburg High offensive lineman Nate Bruce.
Bruce (6-4, 320 pounds) is a 3-star guard prospect, known as much for his vast potential as anything.
“A workout fanatic, Tengwall and his 54-inch chest is already pumping out 225 pounds on the bench press 26 times,” wrote Steve Wiltfong, national director of recruiting for 247Sports. “A block of muscle that is also flexible and fluid, Tengwall has the foot and body quickness, size and toughness to parole the line of scrimmage.”
Though a 4-star recruit for now, Tengall should elevate to 5-star status in the coming months, said Ryan Snyder, a recruiting analyst with Blue-White Illustrated. His ability to play at least three offensive line spots only raises his value, Snyder said.
“He’s just a smart player. He gets nasty (as a blocker) but doesn’t do anything stupid to hurt his team. He’s very physical,” Snyder said.
Tengall, Rucci and Leigh all have the ability to be front-line starters in just their second year on campus, Snyder said.
The big question may become how many linemen can this smaller-than-usual class fit? With tight scholarship numbers, the 2021 group may struggle to grow past 20 members.