football Edit

Friday Mailbag: Who are the most realistic quarterback targets for 2023?

September is finally here, which means in the next few weeks, we'll be seeing hundreds of prospects flooding into Beaver Stadium for unofficial visits.

The start of September also means that James Franklin and his staff can now initiate conversations with their top targets in the Class of 2023. Sure, they've been talking to many of those recruits for months now, but the real change is that they can now initiate talks with many of those national prospects who weren't reaching out on their own previously. Considering talent is down a bit in the Mid-Atlantic for 2023, national recruiting may be a bit more important than ever in the upcoming class.

In this week's mailbag, we talk 2023 quarterbacks, plus a few top remaining prospects in the Class of 2022.

The Penn State Nittany Lion football program has extended seven scholarship offers to Class of 2023 quarterbacks, including Rivals100 prospect Dante Moore.
QB Dante Moore is arguably Penn State's top quarterback prospect in the Class of 2023.

- Knowing that the QB dominoes usually fall first, and assuming the staff will take a QB in the '23 class - most realistic targets? @TheWizardofCamelot

So far, the Nittany Lions have extended seven scholarship offers at the position, two of whom, Malachi Nelson and Eli Holstein, have already committed. The remaining targets are Cameron Edge, Bo Edmundson, Dylan Lonergan, Dante Moore and Jaden Rashada.

All five of those prospects have already been on campus. Lonergan is the son of Dan Lonergan, who played quarterback for the Nittany Lions on the 1982 national championship squad. He attended a game back in 2019. The other four were all on campus this summer. Edge and Edmundson both camped for the staff in June, while Rashada, a California native, flew out to the East Coast in July for an unofficial visit.

Out of this group, Moore is likely the staff's top target. He also came to Penn State in July for the Lasch Bash Barbecue and even participated in one of PSU's mini camps that morning. A top 50 prospect, Moore won't be an easy get, however. I think Michigan and Notre Dame are both likely ahead of the Nittany Lions currently.

Just from talking to each of these players, Edge feels the most interested in Penn State, and I expect the Delaware native to be back on campus soon. Rashada also seems to be a real candidate. The fact that he flew across the country for an unofficial visit, which means he and his family had to pay for it all, certainly speaks highly of his interest in the Nittany Lions, so as of Sept. 2021, Rashada is another one that makes sense.

With that all said, I don't get the sense that there's a clear favorite when it comes to who's truly most realistic. I know that's not the answer you want, but it's the truth. Moore is clearly the guy they'll push for the hardest, but I also think we'll see additional offers go out once the staff is able to watch more film. Were any of you watching Drew Allar this time last year? I wasn't.

The dominos do fall quicker at quarterback more often that not, but I still expect most of the movement there to take place after the season.

- Is [Aamil] Wagner still considering OSU or moved on (ND or PSU?)? @eldolon21

Aamil Wagner has a top five of Penn State, Kentucky, Maryland, Notre Dame and Ohio State. I feel like four of those schools are still very much in the mix. I'm personally not sold on Maryland being a serious contender come decision time, but the other four schools should all get him on campus this season, potentially more than once.

We know Wagner is set to visit Penn State for the game against Auburn in a few weeks, while Kentucky and Ohio State are also planning to host Wagner this month. His brother, Ahmad, played at Kentucky, so the family has close ties with Mark Stoops and his staff. That's a big reason why I won't rule them out.

Right now, the Fighting Irish are considered the favorite, but Ohio State can't be ruled out. From talking to colleagues in Columbus, I get the impression that the Buckeyes may have a few targets ahead of him right now, but he's also not planning to decide until the All-American Bowl, which takes place in January.

Anyone that follows recruiting knows that there's a lot that can happen over the span of four months. For now, I have Penn State sitting second or third here with work to do. It's also important to note that if Andre Roye commits later this month, and right now, I kind of think he will, it's hard for me to see Penn State having room for another offensive lineman in this class. It's possible, yes, but probably unlikely.

- What is the feeling inside Lasch about Omari Evans? I think he’s a game changer and would be a great add to the class @PSUfootball1

I think Penn State's staff is pretty high on Omari Evans, likely higher than most fans would think with players like Darrius Clemons and Andre Greene still uncommitted. Greene should make it back to State College this season, and Clemons may also attend a game, but I still see both of them likely playing their college ball elsewhere. I've never bought into Greene ending up here, and I've been leaning Auburn for Clemons most of the summer.

So, to me, Evans is probably the most realistic get if Penn State wants to add another wide receiver in this class. I don't believe they have to add another wideout, but after Evans came to State College to workout at the end of June, running a 4.3-second 40-yard dash and a 4.2-second shuttle, as well as a very good workout during field drills, it may be hard for Penn State to tell him no if he decides this is where he wants to play.

Last week, I confirmed that Penn State does plan to host Evans for an official visit the weekend of the Auburn game. Evans told me that it should be locked in here very soon, so that visit will obviously have a major impact on what takes place here. Rutgers and Vanderbilt are likely PSU's top competitors, although he will have two additional official visits if he chooses to use them. I think there's a good chance he'll decide some time during the season, so he's a very realistic target and one fans should be paying attention to.

- What is the status of Tyreese Fearbry, the commit that decommitted. He is still on the home page as 100% to PSU.@BarryPSU

Tyreese Fearbry appears to be in no rush to make a second commitment, which is good. He rushed it a bit last time, so it makes sense for him to keep visiting schools this season and see where his heart lies later this year.

I still expect him to end up at either Penn State or Pitt, but history tells us that it's unlikely he'll end up in State College after decommitting. Since Franklin took over the program, Micah Parsons remains the only player to decommit and then eventually sign with the Nittany Lions. For the record, that's the case at most schools. The percentage is always pretty low that a player recommits, so that's not really unique.

Maybe Fearbry will buck that trend, but as of now, I think I have to lean Pitt here. As for the second part, he remains 100% to Penn State on the FutureCast because Adam Friedman and Sam Spiegelman both put in predictions before he committed the first time and they haven't changed their picks yet.

It's hard to change them right now because we don't know where he's going to end up, so that's why you see that. Personally, I think it would be good for the FutureCast to reset once players decommit so fans don't get confused, but as of now, those picks hold firm until the analyst changes it.

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