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Top 10 RB makes surprise visit to Penn State football as commitment approaches

On Friday, Penn State football received a previously unscheduled visit from a top 10 running back in the 2025 cycle as he nears a commitment decision.



Penn State football, Alvin Henderson, James Franklin, 2025 recruiting
Sep 27, 2019; College Park, MD, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Ricky Slade (3) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Maryland Terrapins in the second quarter at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State football took a significant hit in the 2025 recruiting cycle this week, missing out on top in-state QB Matt Zollers, who committed to Missouri on Thursday. But the Nittany Lions didn’t waste any time getting back at it, and are looking to go into SEC territory to pluck a top prospect of their own. On Friday, elite Alabama running back Alvin Henderson made a previously unplanned trip to campus to visit with James Franklin and the Penn State staff. The trip comes nearly two months ahead of his originally scheduled official visit set for May. 

Alvin Henderson makes surprise visit to Happy Valley on Friday

The Nittany Lions may already have two running back commitments in the 2025 recruiting cycle, but that hasn’t stopped the Penn State football staff from pursuing Elba’s (Alabama) Alvin Henderson. A consensus four-star, Henderson is the No. 7 running back in the 2025 cycle and a top 10 recruit in Alabama, per the On3 Industry Rankings

In mid-March, Alvin Henderson cut his list of contending programs down to five, which included Penn State, Auburn, Florida State, Oregon, and Miami. A week later, the 5-9, 195-pound running back locked in an official visit – what was expected to be his first to Happy Valley – for the weekend of May 31 through June 2. 

But evidently, why put off to May what you can do today? On Friday, Alvin Henderson made his way to State College for his first visit to Penn State. Henderson posted about the visit on his social media, tagging James Franklin, running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider, and analyst Charles Walker.

The visit is Henderson’s third of the week, also taking trips to Miami and Flordia. Henderson was originally supposed to announce his commitment Friday at noon, a move which has been pushed back. But he remains adamant that a decision is imminent. The trip to Happy Valley could quite possibly be the one and only chance James Franklin and Penn State football have to get the elite running back on campus before he decides to commit. 

Henderson rushed for 3,523 yards and 61 touchdowns on 225 carries last season as a junior.

Penn State 2025 recruiting class holding strong despite recent setback

There’s no hiding that Penn State football suffered a blow Thursday when Matt Zollers, the No. 1 quarterback in Pennsylvania and top three player at the position nationally, committed to Missouri. But even still, James Franklin and the Nittany Lions are holding firm in the 2025 recruiting cycle. 

With 11 commitments, Penn State football currently has the No. 5 class in the 2025 cycle, according to 247Sports. Franklin and his staff will look to add to that tally next week during the Blue-White Game, which is always a prime opportunity for a commitment or two. 

The Nittany Lions already have two top 40 running backs signed in the 2025 cycle – Kiandrea Barker and Tiqwai Hayes. Penn State’s longest-standing commitment in the class, Barker is set to play his senior season at Miami Central alongside future Nittany Lion quarterback Bekkem Kritza. The in-state prospect Hayes, on the other hand, is coming off an extremely strong year for Aliquippa, bringing home the 2023 Mr. PA Football Award

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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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