BREAKING: Four-star DT Kaleb Artis commits to Penn State
It's been an excellent Fourth of July weekend for Penn State already with four new commitments in the past few days, and the good news continued Sunday evening with one more player in New York City native Kaleb Artis.
A four-star prospect from St. Francis Prep, Artis has been one of Penn State's top defensive line targets since the end of 2020 when he earned an offer from the staff in November.
"I think I made a great choice," Artis said. "To be honest, I see such a good [football program] that they have, but it's also a good school as well. It's great for academics, a great football organization and a really nice campus. But I just got a great feel for all the coaches while I was there. Being there in person is super important because we were on Zoom calls for such long time.
"When you're taking these visits, and there are all these other dudes there, guys they've been recruiting, you can see who really means everything they've been telling you for months now on Zoom, just by how much they're talking to you, sharing with you. It shows a lot while they have a whole bunch of other high-end recruits there like yourself. So, I definitely got that feeling while I was at Penn State. They treated me and my family great. They have some great guys there."
Artis actually camped at Penn State in July of 2019. He already held an offer from Rutgers at the time, although most of his scholarship offers came after the pandemic began in March 2020. Rutgers was the only school that got him on campus for a true unofficial visit. Because of that, he took advantage of June, seeing Auburn, Penn State and Virginia. Rutgers and Virginia both gave him a lot to think about, but his decision really came down to Auburn and Penn State.
"It was a super tough decision. There were so many great teams, great coaches and great organizations that went up against Penn State, like Auburn, Virginia, Rutgers and Florida State," Artis said. "They're all great places, and Auburn, I really liked a lot. With them being in the SEC, they really tried to pull me away. It was super tough between Penn State and Auburn and Virginia, too. I had such a good relationship with everyone at UVA. I talked to those guys for so long. I know a lot of guys at Rutgers, too. I have great connections with so many people at all of these schools, but at the end of the day, I focused in on the small things that really mattered, compared each program, and I knew I had to go to Penn State. But sincerely, I appreciate every school that recruited me. It's an incredible experience and I can't thank everyone enough who gave me a chance."
Relationships were ultimately what separated Penn State in the end, beginning with graduate assistant Deion Barnes.
"He approached me so early on," Artis said. "We were definitely in quarantine at that time and he was still finding time to talk to me around two times a week. He was checking up on me before they even offered me yet. This was months before they offered me. But from the start, he liked the way I worked. I was doing workouts in the front yard at the time and posting them on Twitter. He would always tell me that if I needed help with anything, let him know. I liked that. We clicked from the jump. He's a younger guy himself, so he keeps it real. Not saying that the older coaches don't, but it's always fun bonding with a coach in his mid-20s, especially a guy who's accomplished as much as he has. It's just a little different."
Defensive line coach John Scott Jr. also played a major role, especially over the past few months, as we got closer to in person visits opening up. In fact, Artis said that his visit to Penn State really played a major role when it comes to his belief in Scott as a coach.
"He's definitely a teacher of the game, and I got that feel so much more when I was actually there and actually talking face-to-face," he said. "He takes in people like me as his family members. That means a lot, but also the work that he's willing to put in. He'll put in as much as I'm willing to work. That was super important because you gotta have someone that cares about you, but also is willing to push you with no hard feelings. I really like that. But Coach Scott is definitely a teacher of the game. He was actually an English teacher at one point. He's accomplished so many things and has taken guys who weren't expected to be much and made them superstars."
Artis added that James Franklin's consistency throughout the recruiting process also had a major impact on his decision.
"Coach Franklin is just an incredible guy," Artis said. "What I like about him is his attitude. It's not just Coach Franklin, the guy everybody knows him as, but rather the guy I know him as. I know him as the guy that was calling me weekly. We would FaceTime, text, talk on Twitter. We would Zoom. We did everything. Whatever it was, he was constantly just sending me stuff. So, that's the person that I appreciate. He made sure he was going to have a big role in my recruitment. But also, throughout all of this, I've just appreciated his generosity. Everything he's done has been genuine."
Artis is the second defensive tackle to commit to Penn State just on Sunday, as Florida native Zane Durant, also a four-star, announced his decision earlier today. We believe the staff is happy with just two interior defensive lineman this year, although Michigan native Alex VanSumeran is also still available. If he decided he wanted to join the Lions, we believe Franklin, Scott and the rest of the staff would seriously consider it.
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