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NEW TONIGHT: Penn State football lands No. 1 player in Pennsylvania for 2026

Penn State just landed its first commitment for the class of 2026, and it’s a big one.



Penn State Football, Alvin Henderson, 2025 recruiting, Crystal Ball
Oct 21, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Michigan Wolverines during the first quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Although August has been a relatively quiet month on the recruiting trail for Penn State football in the classes of 2024 and 2025, the Nittany Lions just got a significant win in the 2026 cycle. Saturday night, James Franklin and Penn State secured its first commitment of the cycle from in-state running back Messiah Mickens. Still two years out, rankings are lean at this point in the class of 2026’s recruiting cycle. But Mickens is already standing out to some evaluators, rated as the No. 1 player in Pennsylvania for 2026.

Penn State football lands No. 1 player in Pennsylvania for 2026 cycle

While there is plenty of time to develop in the class of 2026, Messiah Mickens already has the makings of one of the top prospects in the cycle. Mickens, who plays for Trinity High School in Camp Hill, is currently rated as a four-star prospect by 247Sports. The outlet has Mickens ranked as the 30th-best prospect in the country, a top 3 athlete, and the No. 1 player in Pennsylvania for the class of 2026. 

Entering his sophomore season, Mickens has already caught the eye of major powerhouse programs. The four-star running back holds 18 offers, including Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Texas A&M, and Tennessee. Mickens commits to Penn State after camping in Happy Valley on June 24, followed by an unofficial visit the following weekend. 

Although this is the first commitment for the class of 2026, it’s just a continuation of the momentum that James Franklin and the Nittany Lions have on the trail for the 2024 and 2025 cycles. Both classes are currently in the top 10 nationally, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Both have bounced in and out of the top 5 in the national recruiting rankings in the last month, as well. 

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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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