Lions get another New Jersey recruit

For a coach that vowed his program would dominate recruiting in Pennsylvania, Penn State football coach James Franklin and his staff are going pretty well in New Jersey, too.

The Nittany Lions got their fourth recruit for 2015 from New Jersey on Sunday and their 16th overall in this class when Sayreville War Memorial High School defensive back Myles Hartsfield made a pledge on Sunday and then announced it publicly via Twitter.

Hartsfield’s decision gives Penn State four of’s top 10 rising seniors in New Jersey and four of the top six to have made a college choice so far. Penn State also signed four New Jersey players in its 2014 recruiting class, including top-rated tight end Mike Gesicki and blue-chip receiver Saeed Blacknall.

Hartsfield follows a trend of versatility and helps shore up a position of need in this recruiting class in the secondary. Standing 5-foot-10 1/2 and weighing in at 175 pounds, Hartsfield is seen as a safety by most recruiting services, but Penn State recruited him primarily as a cornerback.

Last season, Hartsfield picked off four passes and recorded 44 tackles. He also rushed for nearly 1,600 yards.

Hartsfield recently had narrowed his prospective colleges to Penn State and Rutgers, but the handwriting was on the wall when he passed up on a scheduled visit to the New Jersey college late last week. Hartsfield’s other top offers were from Pitt, Syracuse, West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Cincinnati, Purdue, Temple and Wake Forest.

The Lions are in the running for another top New Jersey prospect, too. Lawrenceville Prep four-star offensive tackle Grant Newsome made two-day visits to both Penn State and Michigan late last week. The Lions and Wolverines are considered Newsome’s co-leaders, and it’s possible he could arrive at a decision as early as this week. However, recruiting analysts maintain this is a race that’s very close, and Newsome, who is from Virginia, also has offers from SEC powers Alabama and LSU – he could try to visit those schools before picking a school.

With Hartsfield, Penn State now has three defensive backs on its 2015 commitment list: Washington, D.C.’s Ayron Monroe is a similar prospect to Hartsfield in that most see him as a safety but he possibly could be a fit at corner, while Connecticut’s Jarvis Miller, Penn State’s initial 2015 recruit, is a pure safety.

The Lions probably would like to bring in one if not two more defensive backs if its scholarship numbers allow. St. Joseph’s Preps John Reid and Central Valley’s Jordan Whitehead, both pure corners, have been the names linked with the Lions most closely through the last few months.