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Penn State football predicted to miss on elite legacy recruit

Described as a “must get” prospect by James Franklin, elite 2025 recruit and Penn State football legacy Michael Carroll is now predicted to land in the SEC by one of the nation’s top recruiting experts.



Penn State football, Michael Carroll, James Franklin, Alabama, 2025 recruiting
Oct 28, 2023; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin looks on from the sideline during the second quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The tide appears to be turning against Penn State football for one of the program’s top remaining targets in the 2025 recruiting cycle. Sunday night, On3’s Steve Wiltfong logged a prediction for elite offensive lineman Michael Carroll to commit to Kalen DeBoer and the Alabama Crimson Tide. If seen to fruition, the loss of the legacy prospect would be the latest in a difficult cycle of in-state recruiting for James Franklin and the Nittany Lions.

Penn State football legacy Michael Carroll predicted to land at Alabama

Penn State football, Michael Carroll, James Franklin, Alabama, 2025 recruiting

R© Lori Schmidt / Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

For quite some time, it’s been believed that James Franklin and Penn State football were in a dogfight with Big Ten rival Michigan to land four-star Central Bucks East offensive lineman Michael Carroll. The 6-6, 310-pound prospect has been to Happy Valley (six) and Ann Arbor (four) more than anywhere else during his recruitment.

However, Alabama has been able to position itself late with Carroll. The Crimson Tide offered Carroll in February. The Tide seemed to shoot rapidly to the top of Carroll’s list, with the top 2025 recruit visiting in March and then again over the Nittany Lions’ Blue-White weekend.

“The coaching staff, they’re really personable,” Carroll told On3 recently. “[Offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic] Coach Kap, I love him. The head coach, Coach DeBoer, he seems like a great person. He’s always staying consistent, talking with my parents, all of that. And then the strength coaches there. Coach Dave Ballou, he trained Quinton Nelson at Notre Dame and a bunch of other studs.

“They have Tyler Booker right now. They said they see me being a JC Latham type, so I was like, ‘Wow, sounds all great.’”

After his official visit this weekend, things now appear to be trending even more favorably in the Tide’s direction. Sunday night, On3 Vice President of National Recruiting Steve Wiltfong placed a prediction for Michael Carroll to commit to Alabama. Wiltfong’s prediction comes with 60% confidence.

Alabama is the new leader to land Carroll in On3’s Recruiting Prediction Machine. Penn State football had been leading since April 9.

James Franklin and the Nittany Lions should still have a chance to make a push for Carroll. He is scheduled to take his official visit this upcoming weekend. That will be followed by a trip to Michigan on June 21.

Michael Carroll is the No. 27 overall prospect in the 2025 recruiting cycle, according to On3. He is ranked as the No. 2 interior offensive lineman in the country and the second-best recruit in Pennsylvania. Carroll’s father, Michael Carroll Sr., played linebacker for Penn State football in the 1990s.

Dominate the state?

The 2025 recruiting cycle has been a challenge for James Franklin and his well-known pledge to “dominate the state” of Pennsylvania.

Missing out on Michael Carroll, who Franklin has labeled a “must get” prospect, would be three out of the top five recruits in the Keystone State per On3’s Industry Rankings that have committed elsewhere. The top two prospects in the industry comparison, Matt Zollers and Zahir Mathis, have pledged to Missouri and Ohio State, respectively.

The Nittany Lions are still in the running for the state’s top tight end, Alex Olesh. Like Carroll, the Southern Lehigh prospect visits Penn State this upcoming weekend before traveling to Michigan.

Four-star linebacker Alex Tatsch, currently the No. 5 prospect in Pennsylvania in the On3 Industry Rankings, committed to Penn State football in February.

While recruiting can be cyclical and, at times, temperamental, it’s safe to say the current trajectory of in-state recruiting in the 2025 cycle is not something James Franklin and his staff are taking lightly.

“I’m a big believer for a lot of different reasons, not just Penn State’s but for the young men,” Franklin said in December. “That’s a win-win for everybody. The best players in Pennsylvania need to stay in Pennsylvania, and they need to come to Penn State.”

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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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