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Penn State football: wide receiver corps continues to improve

The Nittany Lions receiver room is getting more dangerous by the day as we approach the 2023 season.



© Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK

On Wednesday, Penn State football improved its receiving corps yet again; this time, PSU added rising junior wideout Malik McClain via the transfer portal. Once a Seminole, McClain brings experience and much-needed talent to the Nittany Lions’ 2023 receiving room, which is becoming more dangerous by the day.

Who is Malik McClain?

Malik McClain is a former 247 Sports 4-star prospect who committed to FSU in December of 2020. McClain was a part of the Seminoles’ 2020 freshman class and was rated the No. 283 player in the nation, No. 42 wide out, and No. 40 player in Florida. Now, McClain is headed to State College, PA to be a member of James Franklin’s dangerous roster in 2023.

Though McClain was a starter for Florida State in 2021 and 2022, his stats are not all that gaudy. In 2021, he caught 16 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns; a year later, McClain caught 17 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns.

While these numbers are nothing that will turn heads, he was still an impactful member of the Florida State offense and brings a lot of upside to Penn State this fall. McClain’s best feature appears to be his 6-4, 201 lbs frame — a sizable target for rising sophomore Drew Allar, who will be taking over as the Nittany Lions’ quarterback this fall.

What could McClain add to Penn State football

In 2023, I expect Penn State’s offense to be as explosive as its ever been. With Allar under center behind a revamped and talented offensive line and some notable wide outs and tight ends running routes, I expect the passing game to take a huge leap forward. On top of that, the Nittany Lions have an elite duo of rising sophomores: Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen. If that doesn’t excite you, you must be a fan of a team on Penn State’s schedule.

On top of Penn State’s elite-caliber offense, the Nittany Lions boast a stingy and well-coached defense to match. This fall there are few (if any) excuses for Penn State football to not be in the mix for a Big Ten Championship and Playoff berth, but only time will tell. McClain is not Penn State’s only transfer wide receiver — the Nittany Lions also added Dante Cephas from Kent State — but he might be the Penn State’s most talented wide out.

If McClain can take a step forward in his junior season — not to mention Penn State developing its in-house talent — we could see some special things from this PSU team in the upcoming season.


New Penn State football crystal ball, Nittany Lions closing in on four-star defender

Today, Penn State football earned a new insider pick to land a major four-star New Jersey target.



Penn State football crystal ball, Vaboue Toure
Oct 26, 2019; East Lansing, MI, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions celebrate a win over the Michigan State Spartans after a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Early this morning, a new Penn State football crystal ball was placed, favoring the Nittany Lions to secure a major four-star defensive target from Irvington, NJ. Penn State is gaining momentum on the recruiting trail with 17 committed players and counting as they approach the second weekend of June, and their prospects could improve even further soon.

New Penn State football crystal ball for major four-star target from New Jersey

This weekend, Vaboue Toure will be visiting Happy Valley for an official visit. The Nittany Lions are closing in on this highly regarded four-star defensive prospect and have received a new crystal ball prediction for his commitment on Friday morning. The 2024 recruiting class is shaping up to have a strong defensive backfield for the Nittany Lions, especially with the recent addition of Dejaun Lane, who is expected to play safety during his time in the Blue and White.

Tyler Calvaruso, a staff writer at Lions247, placed this new Penn State football crystal ball, which marks the second insider pick in favor of the Nittany Lions landing Vaboue Toure.

Toure could become a huge addition to the 2024 class

This potential acquisition could be a significant coup for Penn State football for several reasons. Apart from being a major four-star target, Vaboue Toure hails from a regional state, which bodes well for the Lions on the recruiting trail.

Furthermore, Vaboue Toure is a highly sought-after prospect in this class, ranking among the top 300 recruits in the country and holding a composite four-star rating. According to the most recent rankings, Toure is positioned as the No. 269 player in the nation, the No. 25 safety in the 2024 class, and the No. 4 recruit in the state of New Jersey.

Pay close attention to this important official visit over the weekend, as the two Penn State football crystal ball predictions in favor of Vaboue Toure carry weight. The Blue and White may be on the verge of securing another elite target this weekend.

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at or direct message us on our social media. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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Penn State football trending for major top 100 target, among top 5 finalists

Penn State football is currently trending to land a top 100 recruit.



Penn State football recruiting efforts, Nick Marsh
© Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Today, top 100 recruit Nick Marsh announced his five remaining finalists and the Nittany Lions made the cut. As of late, the Penn State football recruiting efforts have been heating up when it comes to Marsh, and today’s news is yet another step in the right direction for the Lions.

Marques Hagans boosting the Penn State football recruiting efforts

The Blue and White have a new wide receiver coach for the 2023 season. The Nittany Lions moved on from Taylor Stubblefield, who coached from 2020 to 2022. It was a somewhat surprising move, as Stubblefield was a highly talented recruiter and developed skilled receivers like Jahan Dotson, Parker Washington, and KeAndre Lambert-Smith. Penn State has now replaced “Stubbs” with Marques Hagans.

Marques Hagans played wide receiver at the University of Virginia. As a fifth-round draft pick who spent a short time in the NFL, Hagans returned to his alma mater as a graduate assistant. He coached wide receivers from 2013 to 2022. In February, Hagans took the Penn State job, where he will have the opportunity to develop higher-ranked recruits in Happy Valley.

As in every coach hire, it takes time to develop rapport with recruits at your new school. Hagans has quickly become integrated with his new staff and team. On Thursday, Hagans got good news regarding top-100-ranked wide receiver, Nick Marsh.

Nittany Lions trending for Nick Marsh, named a finalist on Thursday

Nick Marsh, the 99th-ranked recruit in the 247 Sports Composite ranking in the class of 2024, has listed Penn State in his top five schools. Penn State joins Kansas, Michigan State, Oregon, and Pitt as finalists for the talented wide receiver. 

Marsh stands at 6 feet 3 inches and weighs 200 pounds. In addition to football, he also competes in track and field and basketball, showcasing tremendous athletic ability despite his large frame. It’s worth noting that the Michigan State insider’s crystal ball prediction for Marsh was made on October 30, 2021, almost two years ago, so the recruitment landscape has likely changed since then. Being from Michigan, the Spartans may have an advantage in recruiting him.

Marsh could be a class-defining commitment for Penn State

Marques Hagans, who would serve as Marsh’s wide receiver coach if he chooses Penn State, is leading the efforts in recruiting Marsh. ON3 gives Penn State football an 81.3% chance of landing Marsh.

Securing a commitment from Marsh would be significant for Hagans as it would be one of his first commitments, and it would bring a highly talented receiver to a team that has not historically had great wide receivers. Marsh has been compared to Calvin Johnson and N’Keal Harry, both of whom were first-round picks in the NFL draft.

Penn State football will discover its fate with Marsh when he announces his commitment on July 7.

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at or direct message us on our social media. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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Penn State football staff talks impact of NIL on recruiting

This Penn State football staff member went into great detail about the impact of NIL on recruiting.



Penn State Football staff, NIL, recruiting
Nov 20, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Noah Cain (21) runs onto the field carrying the American flag to honor members of the military prior to the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the day today, Penn State football is making its coaching staff and other personnel available to the media to discuss the team’s progress throughout the summer. This morning, our own CJ Mangum spoke with several Penn State football staff members. This includes General Manager of Personnel and Recruitment Andy Frank, who spoke at great length about the impact of NIL on the recruiting landscape.

How has NIL impacted college football recruiting?

Andy Frank has served as a director of player personnel in the Penn State football program for the better part of the last decade and also worked on James Franklin’s staff at Vanderbilt. Frank has seen the development of college football recruiting from a niche topic into a major sports industry. He’s also currently on the front lines of the changing landscape of college football today and described his experience with NIL and recruiting:

“It adds another element to a decision-making process for the kids. And in reality, it’s a big element. You’ve recruited for a long time, and you’ve basically tried to show kids and their families the things that your school has to offer. The people. I think that’s first and foremost, it has probably always been our biggest thing, and recruiting is the people we have here. And that’s that’s our football staff. That’s this community. The school. You know, how the school can provide for you and set you up for the rest of your life. And then obviously, the football program and what you know it can do, what the atmosphere is that you can play in front of, the chances of playing in the NFL, all of those things.”

Frank went on to explain how NIL impacts each recruitment in its own unique way. “You add NIL to the equation; where does that fit? It fits a little bit different for every kid and every family,” Frank said. “But all of us considered what income you were going to have when you were looking at what you were going to do with your life. So I think for these kids, it’s something they have to they have to factor in.”

Penn State football staff believes it is behind in NIL, but catching up

Andy Frank also discussed where he believes Penn State football is currently situated in the NIL landscape. In his opinion, Penn State was initially behind the pack, but has gained ground over the last year. “I think it’s an area that, if we’re being honest with ourselves, we were probably behind to start with and we’re doing our best right now to catch up,” Frank noted. “And I think we’ve made a lot of progress. But I think we’ll continue to make more progress.”

Frank concluded by outlining the vision that James Franklin and the Penn State football staff has for NIL and recruiting moving forward. The progress that Penn State has made with NIL can be seen firsthand. Several Nittany Lions have signed NIL deals in recent weeks, and Penn State football currently has some of the top NIL earners in all college athletics. But in this rapidly changing landscape, if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.

“As time goes on, hopefully, we’ll be in a position where it can be a strength and something for us that can actually help us get a kid as opposed to right now,” Frank said. “We’re still, I think, in a position where we work on the relationships, work on the other things, and have enough to offer in NIL. Eventually, you’d like to be in a position where it can push a kid over the top as opposed to keeping you back.”

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at or direct message us on our social media. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

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