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Lions land 4-star WR

January 27, 2014
The Altoona Mirror

Penn State received another big verbal commitment on Sunday, but it wasn't from one of the prospects that visited Happy Valley over the weekend.

Saeed Blacknall, a four-star wide receiver from New Jersey, announced via Twitter a little after 9:30 p.m. that he planned to sign with Penn State on Feb. 5 instead of Rutgers, to which he had verbally committed in August.

Verbal commitments are not binding by NCAA rule.

Joining Delaware's Chris Godwin, North Carolina's DeAndre Thompkins and Mount Lebanon High School's Troy Apke, Blacknall will help to give Penn State one of the best receiving groups in the 2014 recruiting class. What Blacknall adds is terrific size at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds that he parlays into big-time play-making ability: Over his last two years he's caught 26 touchdown passes for Manalapan High School.

Blacknall's offer sheet was a who's who of top programs, including Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Notre Dame, and he is a consensus top-200 player in the nation. However, a desire to stay close to home apparently led him to choose Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights, though, have gone through a number of assistant coaching changes. While Blacknall hadn't been linked to Penn State when Bill O'Brien was coach, he surprisingly showed up with new coach James Franklin at a Nittany Lion wrestling match last weekend. He visited Rutgers this weekend, the announced the switch.

Blacknall's commitment gives Penn State 23 recruits in this class, five of whom already have enrolled. On Saturday, the Lions got a commitment from California linebacker-safety Koa Farmer.

It had been considered possible if not likely that Penn State would get a verbal commitment Sunday from Florida cornerback Amani Oruwariye, but that had yet to materialize - Oruwariye committed to Franklin's staff when they were at Vanderbilt.

It doesn't appear that the Lions were able to sway Georgia commit Isaiah Wynn, an All-American guard from Florida, to flip to Penn State although it got him on campus this weekend, and it also looks like Maryland five-star tackle Damian Prince no longer will be making a mid-week official visit, according to Rivals.com's Mike Farrell.

- Philip Cmor

 
 

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