football Edit

Penn State targeting New Jersey heavily in 2024 & 2025 classes

Soon after Penn State added Khalil Ahmad, former Director of High School Relations at Syracuse, to the staff, New Jersey recruits became an immediate priority.

Ahmad, who is now the Recruiting Coordinator for Personnel and Recruitment at Penn State has several connections throughout the Garden State and was a big reason why Syracuse was able to host and land several New Jersey prospects over the past few seasons.

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Ahmed is hoping to bring that same Jersey Juice to State College going forward and he already has one recruit on board in 2025 offensive lineman Jaelyne Matthews who committed to the program about a week after Ahmed accepted his new role.

With Matthews already in the fold, Penn State is also doing pretty well with several other big name recruits in the state, including with the No. 2 ranked prospect in NJ for 2024 in Don Bosco Prep defensive tackle Jordan Thomas.

Just last month head coach James Franklin became the first coach to land a helicopter on the Ironmen's campus as he went to check in with the coaches there and see Thomas. Thomas hasn't been to State College since April 2022, but Nittany Nation has learned he is expected to be on campus several times this spring as he plans to be there in both March and April to check out a couple of spring practices.

A few other big names that the program is doing very well with are wide receiver Jaylan Hornsby out of Camden High School and defensive back Vaboue Toure out of Irvington High School.

Both prospects visited campus back on January 29th and have built very strong bonds with the staff. Another thing to note is that Hornsby's and Toure's head coaches were two of the first guys to wish Ahmad congratulations on his new job when he announced his move to Penn State on social media.

A couple of other New Jersey recruits to that plan on visiting soon include 2024s....QB Jacob Zamot, WR Ta'Ron Haile and WR Sahnye Degraffenreidt as well as 2025s....RB/WR Lotzeir Brooks and WR Pedro Reyes. These guys will head to State College during the third week of March.

As of right now, Haile, Degraffenreidt and Brooks all already hold Penn State offers while the others are drawing a lot of interest from the Nittany Lions.

Penn State also has already played host to several NJ prospects this past January as they hosted DT Richard James Jr., DB Kaj Sanders and several others as well.

As if all the recent visitors didn't make it clear that the program is recruiting New Jersey a bit more this recruiting cycle and going forward than the number of PSU offers in the state will. In 2023, Penn State only offered 13 New Jersey recruits, while recruits in the Class of 2024 already hold 15 offers and the Class of 2025 holds 19 offers.

Stay tuned as Penn State is expected to host several New Jersey targets on campus over the next couple of months once spring ball starts back up.

Finally, there's Omari Gaines. The St. Peter's Prep standout visited Happy Valley in January in a visit that went extremely well and there was some sense that the athlete could even commit to the Nittany Lions in the near future. He remains uncommitted and it's unclear when he'll make a return visit but Penn State is firmly in the lead for Gaines.


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