Safety picks Lions

There was chatter Monday that Maryland offensive tackle Rasheed Walker might announce his commitment to Penn State, beating Imhotep Charter free safety Isheem Young to the punch to bring the Nittany Lions’ 2018 recruiting class to 20 at a small press conference at his school on Tuesday afternoon.

Walker’s announcement didn’t come, but the big hitter from the Philadelphia prep power did as expected, becoming the fifth scholastic senior-to-be to pick the Lions in as many days around the weekend’s “Lasch Bash.”

“It was a pretty easy, actually,” the 5-foot-10 Young told 247Sports.com of his decision. “I think it’s a great place for me. I love the defense they run and I think it will be a perfect fit for me. I love the school as a whole and I love that the coaches treat me like family already.”

The decision actually was so easy that Young apparently made it during an unofficial visit back on April 12; he was just waiting to go public with it. The announcement was accompanied by a video on Bleacher Report of Young and his friends having a pool party — when Young jumped in, the camera panned to a view from above that showed the water turn blue and the Penn State logo appear inside.

“When I take a visit, I feel like I’m already on the team,” Young said. “I love that.”

A four-star prospect, Young picked Penn State over Alabama and Clemson. West Virginia, Maryland and Ohio State rounded out his final six.

Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma and Pitt also were part of a lengthy list of programs that offered Young a scholarship.

Young had three interceptions last season as Imhotep made it to the PIAA championship game in its classification for the second year in a row, but the Class 4A all-state pick’s calling card is his tackling, which could be fairly described as explosive.

“He is just relentless,” former Imhotep coach Albie Crosby said in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer last year. “He’s a missile. He comes out of nowhere. And when I say he lights people up, he lights people up.”

As a sophomore, when Imhotep won the state title in Class 3A, Young led the team with 83 tackles, but he also forced six fumbles.

Scout.com ranks Young as the No. 45 player in the 2018 class and the No. 4 safety.

“Young breaks on the ball well, is physical in the running game and a punishing hitter when receivers come across the middle. He tracks the ball well and has the skill and speed to play man-to-man defense,” Scout national analyst Brian Dohn said. “His burst allows him to close quickly, and his speed enables him to cover outside of the hashmarks.”

“Young is not only the physical leader of the defense, but he is also an emotional leader who makes big plays.”

Young is the fourth defensive back in Penn State’s 2018 class, joining Texas safety Isaiah Humphries, Texas corner Trent Gordon and Florida corner Jordan Miner. The Nittany Lions’ class currently is in the consensus top five in the country.

With 20 commitments, Penn State’s class is beginning to fill up quickly. NCAA Division I programs are permitted 25 signings per class, but, depending on current scholarship numbers, they can apply a scholarship to a preceding class. Verbal commitments also are non-binding, and there also is the possibility that a player might not qualify academically and ends up going to a junior college or a prep school.

Most of the remaining targets on the Lions’ list for this recruiting cycle are defensive linemen. Tackles P.J. Mustipher and Aeneas Hawkins appear to be leaning toward Penn State, and ends Jayson Oweh and Tyreke Smith have the Lions in their top two with Ohio State according to reports. Penn State still is involved with Harrisburg blue-chip end Micah Parsons, who was verbally committed to the Lions for several months, but most analysts believe he favors Ohio State.

Walker and junior college offensive tackle T.J. Bradley also are considered highly-probable commitments.

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