Lions land massive O-lineman
The list of verbal commitments coming out of the Blue-White Game wasn’t as big as Penn State football fans probably were expecting, but the one pledge the Nittany Lions did receive on Saturday was huge.
Six-foot-five, 320-pound Caedan Wallace, ranked as one of the top 75 players in the junior class and one of the top five guards in the country, surprised few when his decision to become a Nittany Lion a couple of hours before kickoff for Penn State’s annual spring game — it was his seventh trip to University Park in 14 months for the New Jersey Hun School standout.
“After every journey, you must return home. I know where home is,” Wallace said in a commitment video posted on Twitter via Dropbox.
Wallace brought the number of Penn State commitments for 2019 to three. He is the first offensive lineman; the Lions are anticipated to sign three or four O-linemen in this class.
In Wallace, James Franklin and his staff got a strong start at that position. Already highly-regarded, Wallace has spent the last couple of months reshaping his physique, and he showed off the results at the New Jersey Regional of Nike’s The Opening, where he exhibited a powerful blocking punch and earned one of 166 spots at The Opening Finals in Dallas, June 30-July 3.
“The No. 2 offensive guard in the industry-generated 247Sports Composite has a very good initial punch, he bends well and his foot speed is markedly improved from his junior season,” wrote national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn in a scouting report of Wallace. “The athleticism and footwork when getting out to pull is evident, and he is able to target the linebacker and make a pinpoint block.
“When it comes to pass protection, Wallace is patient in his base and he uses his length well on his initial punch. He slides his feet quickly, and because of his balance, he is able to change direction.”
Last fall, Wallace helped Hun go 8-1 by piling up more than 50 pancake blocks and earning first-team all-league recognition. Wallace told NJ.com that he could play guard or tackle at Penn State. His versatility is considered another of his assets.
“Wallace can play either guard position, and is an intriguing center prospect as well. His athleticism and flexibility make him an ideal interior lineman. He needs to continue to add strength, both in the upper and lower body. Ideally, Wallace will play guard and the Nittany Lions will be able to utilize his athleticism in a variety of ways,” Dohn said.
Wallace picked Penn State over Oklahoma and cancelled a scheduled official visit to LSU next weekend. Florida State and South Carolina also were heavily involved. The Lions were one of the first programs to recruit Wallace hard, and having former Hun teammate Fred Hansard and friend Justin Shorter already on the team made the decision easier.
“The family aspect that they provide at Penn State is unmatched at any other school I’ve been to,” Wallace told NJ.com. “I just wanted to really just pick a school that was great for me and my family. And we thought that Penn State was the best option for us, academically and athletically. So I thought this was a good weekend to do it.”
Wallace’s commitment highlighted a day in which more than 100 prospects were estimated to have been to Penn State.
Although the Lions only picked up one recruit on Saturday, there is a chance more will announce soon. Ten high school juniors will be finishing up official visits today, and Connecticut defensive backs Marquis Wilson and Tyler Rudolph both are considered possibilities to commit while on their trips.