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Penn State football recruiting: 3 possible replacements for Michael Van Buren

Here are three potential replacements that Penn State football could pursue if Michael Van Buren commits elsewhere, which he is expected to do.



Penn State football recruiting, Michael Van Buren, four-star quarterback replacements
Oct 9, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin looks on during the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Things have been going well for Penn State football recruiting when it comes to the 2024 cycle. So far, the Nittany Lions lay claim to a top-6 class nationally, with 13 hard commits and counting heading into the summer recruiting period. That being said, Penn State recently lost a lot of momentum with four-star QB target Michael Van Buren, a top-ranked quarterback target out of Maryland, who is now trending towards the Oregon Ducks. With the team’s previous QB1 likely headed elsewhere, here are three replacement targets that Penn State appears to be trending towards.

Penn State football recruiting: Samaj Jones a possible replacement QB1 for the Nittany Lions

According to the 247 Sports composite rankings, Jones is ranked as the No. 20 quarterback in the class and the No. 8 recruit in Pennsylvania. On3 is also high on Samaj Jones, ranking him as a top-15 quarterback in the nation and a top-5 quarterback in the 2024 recruiting class.

While Jones is ranked lower than Van Buren in the overall rankings, he is still a four-star composite quarterback and is the top QB target in the state of Pennsylvania. He brings a 5-foot-11, 203-pound frame to the table, which is unorthodox for a starting QB, though that is not necessarily a bad thing — his potential is sky-high, and being a PA kid, Penn State football likely has a pretty good shot at landing him if they choose to go all out in his recruitment. If Penn State loses Van Buren, I expect Samaj Jones to be the new QB1 for Penn State in this class.

Four-star QB Jayden Bradford (IMG Academy, FL)

Another possible option for Penn State football could be four-star quarterback Jayden Bradford out of IMG Academy in Florida. Bradford is a 247 Sports composite four-star, and is ranked among the top 20 quarterbacks nationally at No. 18. He is also ranked as the No. 54 recruit in Florida, and could easily become a top target for Penn State football recruiting given his strong interest in the program.

According to 247, Penn State is the only team that is warm in Bradford’s recruitment and holds the only crystal ball that has been placed thus far. Bradford only ranks a few sports lower than four-star Michael Van Buren, though he has a nearly identical frame and arguably plays at a better school right now.

Three-star QB Ethan Grunkemeyer (Olentangy, OH)

One of the most recent Penn State football recruiting offers that was sent out was received by three-star composite quarterback Ethan Grunkemeyer of Ohio. While Ethan Grunkemeyer may be one of the lower-ranked quarterback targets on Penn State’s radar, he is quite talented and has a few major Power 5 offers thus far.

Ethan Grunkemeyer is a 2024 three-star quarterback (according to the On3 Industry Rankings) and is ranked as the No. 44 quarterback in the class and the No. 26 recruit in the state of Ohio. He has shown great interest in Penn State football, which could escalate further in May when he makes a return trip to State College for a fourth visit with the coaching staff, scheduled for May 20th.

Grunkemeyer has received notable offers thus far, including from other Big Ten schools like Northwestern and Minnesota, as well as Ivy League programs like Princeton and Yale. Although he may not be Penn State football’s first-choice QB, Grunkemeyer is a solid prospect from Ohio and is gaining some national attention.

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