If recruiting was an actual football game, Penn State would be in the red zone.
The only question now is whether the Nittany Lions punch it in for a touchdown or settle for a field goal.
The commitments of five-star defensive tackle Tommy Schutt and four-star players Eugene Lewis (receiver) and Armani Reeves (cornerback) last week have the Lions inching toward the top 10 in the national rankings.
"It's great for the class to get those guys,'' said Ryan Snyder, a recruiting analyst for Rivals.com affiliate BlueWhite Illustrated. "Tommy Schutt was somewhat of a surprise, and he really is the big addition here - 26th in the nation, one of the best defensive tackles in the class. That's really a top grab.''
Snyder thinks there is a better than 50 percent chance that Connecticut defensive back Malik Golden will commit during or soon after he visits Penn State this week. That would put Penn State at 17 pledges in a class Snyder expects to eventually number 23.
Seven of those already committed carry four-star or better ratings from at least one major scouting website. It's quite possible the Lions could double that number with the players remaining on their board.
Five-star defensive end Noah Spence has Penn State in his recently announced top seven. Five-star defensive tackle Jarron Jones, who once was committed to Penn State, has the Lions in his final four, and most think he'll eventually pick Penn State or Notre Dame. Kent Taylor, the top-ranked tight end in the country, has Penn State in his top four, possibly in his top two with Florida.
Spence, from Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, has made several trips to Penn State, including one on Friday. His father, Greg, has made several glowing comments about Penn State in recent interviews.
"I think that any school right now would want to be in Penn State's shoes,'' Snyder said regarding Spence. "I can't stress enough how [Lion assistant coach] Larry Johnson, his personality and what he stands for as far as not only being a great player but having the academics and being a great character and being a good person stands out to the Spence family. That's where Penn State has its biggest advantage.''
Electrifying quarterback/receiver/defensive back Devin Fuller recently unveiled his 11 finalists, safety De'metrious Cox his 10 finalists, receiver Joel Caleb his nine finalists and running back William Mahone his four finalists. All are four star prospects. All still have the Lions in the mix, probably in the top two for Mahone and Cox, who was expected to be at Penn State on Sunday but reportedly had to cancel the visit.
In addition, four-star receiver Jordan Payton from California recently reported receiving a scholarship offer from the Lions and set up a visit for November. Meanwhile, four-star receiver Canaan Severin has Penn State in his top five and expecting to visit for the Alabama game, and four-star receiver/defensive back Cyrus Jones, long known to be enamored with Alabama, still is looking at the Lions.
Finally, the Lions are still in the running for four-star defensive end Faith Ekakitie and probably would have a great shot of getting four-star DT Jamil Pollard back on board if they re-offered his scholarship - they pulled it after he committed to Penn State because of academic concerns.
"I think Jamil Pollard is possibly even a better talent than Jarron Jones. If he can get the academic issues straightened out, I think they'll save a spot for him,'' Snyder said. "I know Pollard loves Penn State. He wants to be a Nittany Lion.''
The Lions have excellent shots at Virginia safety Mike Tyson and Buffalo running back Akeel Lynch as well. Tyson has the Lions and Virginia ahead of Virginia Tech. Lynch, although recently committed to Boston College, seems set to visit Penn State after ironing out some miscommunication with the Lions coaches.
With Reeves and Lewis on board, running back is the key area left to address in this class. After not signing one in February, Penn State is believed to be in the market for a pair of backs, with Mahone, who also has Notre Dame, Pitt and Michigan State left on his list, leading the way.
However, the Lions aren't involved with many RBs beyond that. Lynch committed to BC when he thought Penn State had stopped recruiting him, and the Lions haven't offered Illinois' David Smith or Georgia's Kenno Loyal yet despite their apparent interest. Five-star Bri'onte Dunn visited Penn State last month but is maintaining a verbal commitment to Ohio State unless the Buckeyes are hit hard by NCAA sanctions; even if they were, Penn State probably would need to overtake Michigan.
The Lions have had an on-again, off-again relationship with Drew Harris of Downingtown West.
"They need two. If you look at the roster, they need two. Do I see them getting two solid running backs right now? No,'' Snyder said.
Snyder thought the odds were good that Lynch would switch his soft Boston College verbal to a solid Penn State verbal once he attended a Nittany Lion game. However, Snyder's caveat was that Mahone choosing Penn State could adversely affect the Lions' chances with Lynch, who has put a great deal of weight on getting on the field early.
It means Penn State might have to wait until after the season to target a second running back.
Having gotten so much of their recruiting done early has allowed Penn State to begin working on 2013 already. Cedar Cliff rising junior tight end Adam Breneman, a similar player to Taylor, made a trip to University Park late last week, and the Lions already are reputed to have extended several verbal offers, something they haven't done much in recent years, including to 220-pound Richmond running back Derrick Green.
As it looks now, Penn State might have a problem everyone wishes they could have - too much of a good thing. Snyder said he expects Penn State to try to round out this class with at least two defensive backs, two running backs and probably two more defensive linemen, but, with so many good players still on their board, that could change, even if they take some players at positions that aren't of dire need.
"They're definitely holding a space for Kent Taylor,'' Snyder said. "If Kent Taylor were to commit, and Pollard and Jones were still open, I think one of them would be done. Kent Taylor is like the wild card in that situation, and I think they would definitely save a spot for Taylor and definitely save a spot for Noah.''