PSU gets athletic lineman

The L.C. Bird High School football program has produced Minnesota Vikings safety Anthony Harris and Notre Dame’s Jalen Elliott, so, when Blue Devils coach Troy Taylor says Hakeem Beamon might be the most highly-regarded recruit to come from the Virginia football power, that is no small praise.

“He is a big kid that can really run. He has great feet and has good body control for a kid his size,” Taylor told the Chester, Va. Village News last month.

That should get Penn State football fans fired up, because Beamon is set on becoming a Nittany Lion.

The Lions filled another slot on the defensive side of the ball for their 2018 recruiting class on Friday afternoon when Beamon became the ninth player to verbally commit for this cycle.

The 6-foot-3, 254-pound four-star lineman picked Penn State over South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Alabama and North Carolina — he actually was committed to the Tar Heels for nine months but took three visits to University Park in that span, eventually garnering a scholarship offer from James Franklin and his staff.

“Education and alumni (set Penn State apart), the combination of academics and football,” Beamon told 247Sports.com. “They really killed the (NFL Draft) combine earlier this year and this class is doing something. Same thing with Coach Franklin.”

Beamon fits the mold of the players Penn State has been recruiting under Franklin — athletic and versatile.

Beamon was second-team all-Virginia as a junior, but as an offensive lineman, not on defense. Alabama visualized him as a linebacker, while some colleges saw him as a defensive end and others as a defensive tackle.

At The Opening’s Charlotte Regional combine in April, Beamon ran the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds, threw the power ball 42¢ feet and vertical jumped 33¢ inches. His SPARQ overall athleticism score was ninth-best in the camp, and he was the only lineman in the top 25.

Beamon plays inside and outside on the defensive line at L.C. Bird, and he is dominant in both roles.

“He has very good knee bend and he explodes out of his stance at the snap of the ball,” 247Sports national analyst Brian Dohn wrote. “As a defensive tackle, his combination of explosion and his quick hands allows him to get onto the offensive lineman quickly, and his pad level keeps him underneath and allows him to win the leverage battle. Beamon’s length and his hand speed allow him to get inside quickly with a rip move. He has upper-body strength, but he needs to continue to develop it as well get stronger in the lower body.”

Beamon is expected to transfer to Manchester High for his senior year, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“He’s the prototype of what colleges are looking for, a big, long kid who can run,” Hall told the Times-Dispatch. “He’s going to fit into whatever (Penn State) wants.”

Beamon’s pledge gives the Nittany Lions six defensive recruits for 2018. The Lions could round out their recruiting in the secondary next week — Virginia safety Cam’Ron Kelly is scheduled to announce his college choice on Thursday, and Massachusetts-via-Texas safety Lewis Cine is supposed to visit next weekend. Cine is a consensus top top 50 player nationally and appears to be the one the Lions most covet.

According to Lions247’s Sean Fitz, Penn State is expected to try to bring in three defensive linemen in 2018, and the Lions are in on an elite group, that means some good players might wind up not having a spot.

Leading the way is Zach Harrison, considered by some the top prospect overall in 2018; Penn State is trying to steal him away from home-state Ohio State. Also high on the Lions’ board are ends David Ojabo, Adisa Isaac and Joseph Wete and tackles Mazi Smith, Jared Harrison-Hunte, Steven Faucheux, and Rodas Johnson.

In addition, Penn State is seeking one more linebacker. The prime target appears to be Michigan’s Lance Dixon. Dixon released his top five college on Friday evening, and Penn State — the perceived leader — was joined by Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan.

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