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Penn State football recruiting offers major 4-star defensive lineman from SEC country

The Penn State football recruiting class is looking to add another major defensive talent, a four-star defensive lineman out of Tennessee.

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Penn State football recruiting, Ethan Utley
Oct 12, 2019; Iowa City, IA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive tackle Robert Windsor (54) reacts with safety Garrett Taylor (17) and defensive tackle Antonio Shelton (55) after a sack against the Iowa Hawkeyesduring the third quarter at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Nittany Lions have a top-6 recruiting class in the 2024 cycle and a top-3 recruiting class in the 2025 cycle. This week, the Penn State football recruiting board added a new target to the 2025 list: Ethan Utley, a major four-star defensive line target from Ensworth High School in Tennessee. Utley is one of several southern targets recently offered by James Franklin, notably a trio of major TN targets offered by Penn State football after the spring game.

Penn State football is targeting a major four-star defensive lineman from SEC country

James Franklin used to coach in the SEC before taking the Penn State football head coaching position in 2014. As of late, it appears that he is looking to hit that southern pipeline more often in his current recruiting classes. Penn State football recruiting offers have been flying to major southern recruits in bunches over the past few weeks, including a recent offer to four-star defensive lineman Ethan Utley of the 2025 class.

According to the 247 Sports composite rankings, Utley is a four-star lineman and is ranked as the No. 141 recruit in the nation, the No. 16 defensive lineman, and the No.5 recruit in the state of Tennessee. On3 is also quite high on Utley, rating him as a four-star recruit and ranking him among the top 200 recruits nationally, the top 20 defensive linemen in the class, and the top 10 recruits in TN.

Ethan Utley boasts an impressive 6-foot-4, 275-pound frame as he enters his second-to-final season of high school football at Ensworth. He is already a four-star, and if he stands out this fall, perhaps he could climb the ladder and become a five-star by the time his 2025 class is at the forefront of the recruiting world next year. Seeing as Penn State football is lacking defensive line depth, Utley is a prime target for the Nittany Lions — he won’t be able to contribute any time soon, though ideally, Penn State’s current situation highlights the need for interior defensive linemen when playing a grueling Big Ten schedule.



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Chris Mangum is currently a Penn State student and serves as a writer and editor covering Big Ten athletics. He has served as a beat writer, online reporter, print reporter, and more over the past few years of his career. He currently serves as the managing editor for Basic Blues Nation and others.

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