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Penn State football is locked in an arms race with the Big Ten East

The Big Ten East recruiting efforts this year have been more competitive than ever.



Penn State football recruiting, Big Ten East
© Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

When it comes to Penn State football recruiting, there is an elephant in the room: being top 10 is not good enough when Michigan and Ohio State — the other two powers in the Big Ten East — are both in the top 3.

In fact, this can be said for the entire state of the program right now — the Nittany Lions finished 11-2 and ranked No. 7 last year, yet for many fans, these accomplishments meant very little seeing as the Wolverines and Buckeyes both finished in the top-4 after making the College Football Playoff.

Right now, the brutal war in the Big Ten East wages on throughout the thick of recruiting season — next month marks the beginning of official visits for the 2024 recruiting class, and it’s already apparent that this summer is shaping up to be a recruiting bloodbath for Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State.

Penn State football recruiting deadlocked with Big Ten powers

As May draws to a close, the competition in the Big Ten remains incredibly fierce. According to the 247 Sports composite team rankings, Penn State football finds itself in esteemed company alongside Michigan and Ohio State, as all three programs currently rank among the top 10 in recruiting. The Nittany Lions hold the 7th ranked class, while the Wolverines (2nd) and Buckeyes (3rd) boast top 3 classes.

Impressively, the Big Ten East also features some of the most substantial recruiting classes in the nation. The Penn State football recruiting class alone has secured commitments from 14 highly touted prospects thus far, with Michigan (17) slightly ahead and Ohio State (13) in close pursuit. These numbers reflect the intense efforts being made by these programs to secure top talent for their rosters.

Quarterbacks looking Elite in the Big Ten East

Penn State football recently secured a commitment from Ethan Grunkemeyer, an impressive quarterback hailing from Ohio known for his strong arm. Although currently rated as a three-star recruit in the composite rankings, Grunkemeyer has been generating significant attention nationwide and is expected to climb in the rankings as his talents continue to be recognized.

The Big Ten East has achieved a remarkable feat with its collection of committed quarterbacks. Jadyn Davis (Michigan), Air Noland (Ohio State), and Ethan Grunkemeyer (Penn State) have all earned spots in the Elite 11 finals. This remarkable occurrence underscores the competitiveness and talent within these three powerhouse programs, especially at the game’s most important position: quarterback.

As June approaches, Penn State football must maintain its recruiting momentum to remain competitive against programs like Michigan, Ohio State, and other Big Ten rivals. While being among the top 10 in recruiting rankings is commendable, the Nittany Lions need to aim higher to contend for a Big Ten title. Climbing into the top 5 or even the top 3 nationally would be crucial steps towards achieving their goals.

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