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Penn State football: WPIAL RB commit adds new Power 4 offer

The 2023 WPIAL POY and Mr. PA Football winner has picked up another Power Four offer this week. With three commits in the 2025 cycle, can Penn State football hold on to all its running backs until National Signing Day?



Penn State football, Tiqwai Hayes, 2025 recruiting, Stanford
© [Sally Maxson/for BCT] / USA TODAY NETWORK

For over a decade, James Franklin and Penn State football have reaped the rewards of the Keystone State’s talented running back prospects. For the 2025 recruiting cycle, the Nittany Lions are turning to Aliquippa’s Tiqwai Hayes to continue the legacy set by Saquon Barkley, Miles Sanders, Journey Brown, and Nicholas Singleton. While Hayes has been in the fold for almost eight months, a new Power Four program is now vying for the WPIAL star’s commitment after Stanford offered the 2023 Mr. PA Football award winner this week. With a crowded running back room in the class of 2025, will Penn State be able to hold on to all of its commitments until National Singing Day?

WPIAL star, Nittany Lions commit Tiqwai Hayes picks up Stanford offer

Even after joining Penn State’s 2025 recruiting class in September, other Power Four schools have not lost their interest in Aliquippa running back Tiqwai Hayes. The 5-10, 190-pound back has added a handful of offers since pledging to the Nittany Lions last fall, most recently from Stanford on Wednesday.

“After a great conversation with [Coach Nate Byham], I’m blessed to receive a D1 offer from Stanford University #paradise,” Hayes wrote on social media Wednesday evening.

A three-star prospect, Tiqwai Hayes is a top 15 player in Pennsylvania for the 2025 recruiting cycle according to both 247Sports and On3.

As a junior, Hayes rushed for 2,129 yards and 26 touchdowns during Aliquippa’s PIAA Class 4A state championship-winning season, becoming the fourth Penn State football commit to ever win the WPIAL Player of the Year award. His 5,886 career rushing yards are now the 10th most in WPIAL history.

Tiqwai Hayes also earned recognition at the statewide level for his efforts last fall, winning the 2023 Mr. PA Football award. He joined Saquon Barkley (2014), Miles Sanders (2015), and Nicholas Singleton (2021) as other recent Nittany Lion running backs to earn the honor.

Is Penn State football walking a thin line with three running backs in the 2025 recruiting class?

In April, Penn State football picked up a commitment from Elba’s (Alabama) Alvin Henderson, a top-10 running back in the 2025 cycle.

With Henderson in tow, James Franklin and the Nittany Lions are up to three running back commits in the 2025 recruiting class. Miami Central’s Kiandre Barker is the class’s longest-standing commitment, jumping aboard last April.

This opens up a potentially interesting situation that the Nittany Lions must navigate. Penn State has never signed three scholarship running backs from high school during the James Franklin era. The closest the program came was in the 2023 cycle, signing London Montgomery and Cam Wallace while adding Trey Potts from the portal.

Penn State needs to look no further than 2022 to see how a once-loaded running back room can thin out quite quickly.

The current landscape of college football does give Franklin and his staff more roster flexibility than ever before. Still, it’ll be worth watching if Barker, Hayes, or Henderson potentially pursue other options between now and December’s signing day.

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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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