Blue-chip DTs highlight recruiting visitors

In the hours just before kickoff for Penn State’s Big Ten contest with Iowa on Saturday night, Arkansas’ 31-10 win over Florida was being shown on Beaver Stadium’s gigantic video boards.

One wonders if that was done with Fred Hansard in mind.

The 6-foot-3, 324-pound Gator defensive tackle commit was one the highest-profile members of a strong list of prospects the Nittany Lion coaching staff was able to pull in for visits for their clash with the Hawkeyes.

The group was particularly strong on senior defensive blue-chippers, including tackles Hansard, Elijah Conliffe and Corey Bolds, any of whom would be welcome members and fill a big need in this recruiting class. However, even those big guys might have been overshadowed by the official visit of Clairton corner Lamont Wade.

A top-50 national prospect, Wade reputedly is the top defensive prospect on the Nittany Lions’ board. His signing would add an elite in-state athlete to the Penn State secondary and also open a bit of an in-road with a strong high school program that typically sends its best players to Pitt.

Wade was injured two games ago, but he visited Penn State despite undergoing surgery earlier in the week.

Conliffe and Bolds also were on officials. Conliffe is a four-star, 6-4, 305-pounder who could player either end or tackle; he’s long been considered a heavy Alabama lean, so getting him to visit Penn State is a big deal. From New Jersey, Bolds is a three-star prospect, but his list of offers includes Michigan, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia.

Lion offensive line pledge Mike Miranda was in for his official visit, as well, and 2017 quarterback recruit Sean Clifford was one of a handful of other recruits who are verbally committed to Penn State who made it to the game. Bishop Guilfoyle defensive back Evan Chadbourn was reportedly going to the game along with Marauder sophomore place-kicker Kolton McGhee — Chadbourn is committed to Lehigh.

Georgia quarterback Justin Fields was one of the headliners among the underclassman visitors. It was the second trip to University Park this season for 247Sports’ No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the 2018 class.

Cincinnati defensive lineman Aeneas Hawkins and Archbishop Wood tight end Kyle Pitts also were on visitor lists leading into the game. Both juniors have Penn State offers. Hawkins is the son of Johnstown’s Artrell Hawkins.

Another expected visitor to note was Connecticut quarterback Drew Pyne. Only a freshman, Pyne has offers from Alabama and Florida State already.