Lions land pair of DBs

Penn State got closer to completing its 2015 recruiting haul and upgraded its 2016 class at the same time on Saturday when the Nittany Lions received commitments from Pittsburgh Central Catholic senior safety Johnny Petrishen and Detroit junior cornerback LaVert Hill.

“This past year has been a dream. After an enjoyable yet rigorous process, I am proud to commit to PENN STATE #WEARE,” Petrishen posted on his Twitter account along with a photo of him standing with Lion head coach James Franklin and his primary recruiter, Terry Smith.

Petrishen was expected to announce his choice early in the week after cancelling an official visit to one of his three finalists, Virginia. The 6-foot-2, 197-pounder eventually picked Penn State over Pitt.

“Want to thank everybody who has supported me throughout this process. I’m so proud to call the 412 my home, but I’ll be back in a few years!,” Petrishen tweeted. “Really want to thank every coach that has recruited me. By far has been the hardest decision of my life, but I am doing what is best for me.”

Petrishen is the 24th member of Penn State’s 2015 recruiting class. Stanford guard Kevin Reihner also might be among the newcomers as a graduate transfer. Reihner is from Scranton and his father, George, played for Penn State and the Houston Oilers. He’s taken a visit and is expected to join the Lions if they have a scholarship available.

Letter-of-intent signing day is Wednesday.

Petrishen had four interceptions this year for the WPIAL Class AAAA runner-up Vikings, when went 11-2 with both losses coming to eventual PIAA runner-up Pine-Richland. He finished with 48 tackles.

Petrishen was an even bigger threat on special teams. He returned four punts for touchdowns in 2014, giving him seven to go along with a kickoff return score over the last two years.

He was picked to both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fabulous 22 and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review Terrific 25.

Penn State had been looking at Petrishen for some time but offered him later in the process, as did colleges like Maryland, Northwestern and West Virginia.

“The physical attributes are there as well as all the intangibles,” Central Catholic coach Terry Totten told the Tribune Review when talking about Petrishen heading into the season. “These kids catch fire when it’s time to catch fire. They aren’t jump-out-at-you early recruits. But they are guys who can play at that level.”

Petrishen, who also is teammates with big-time 2016 cornerback prospect Damar Hamlin, made his unofficial visit to Penn State last weekend. Hamlin was one of a number of highly-regarded underclassmen in University Park on Saturday, including Hill.

Hill is the fourth verbal commit for the Lions for next year’s class. Ohio State, Michigan, Miami, Tennessee, North Carolina State, North Carolina and Illinois also offered Hill – his brother, Delano, plays for Michigan.

A 5-foot-11, 166-pound corner, Hill is a consensus four-star prospect and rated as the No. 153 prospect in the country according to 247Sports. He was selected second-team all-Metro Detroit as a sophomore by the Detroit News.


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