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Penn State target named “recruit of the weekend” at Under Armour All-America camp

A Penn State football target is receiving praise from several national talent evaluators. Where do the Nittany Lions stand in his recruitment?

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Dec 28, 2019; Arlington, Texas, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Journey Brown (4) runs for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Memphis Tigers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In recent years, Penn State has excelled at recruiting elite running back talent. From Saquon Barkley, Miles Sanders, and Journey Brown to Nick Singleton, Kaytron Allen, and London Montgomery, the Nittany Lions have brought some of the best running backs in the region to Happy Valley. It doesn’t appear that James Franklin and his staff will be slowing down soon, with several talented tailbacks already committed in the 2024 and 2025 cycles and additional prospects still on the recruiting big board. One of these uncommitted prospects, four-star running back Dilin Jones, made his mark at a recent Under Armour All-America camp, being called the “recruit of the weekend” by one of 247Sports’ top talent evaluators.

Dilin Jones named “recruit of the weekend” at Under Armour All-America camp in Baltimore

Dilin Jones is a consensus four-star running back out of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Maryland. The 5-11, 180-pound prospect is considered a top-five player in the state of Maryland and a top-15 running back in the class of 2024. As a junior, Jones was named the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Player of the Year after averaging almost 10 yards per carry last season.

Jones participated in last weekend’s Under Armour All-America Camp Series in Baltimore. A collection of some of the better talent in the Mid-Atlantic region, Jones stood out among the pack. Andrew Ivins of 247Sports even called Jones the “recruit of the weekend” for his performance in skill drills.

“It was a deep and talented group of mid-skill players Sunday. Jones, however, had what we thought was the best performance of the bunch,” Ivins wrote in his piece on 247Sports. “He gave linebackers fits during 1-on-1s as he used his elite burst and sharp cuts to create separation before hauling in touchdown pass after touchdown pass.” Ivins went on to note that Jones clocked one of the fastest times during the camp’s three-cone drill, and he moved through positional drills with ease.

Will Jones join the Penn State 2024 recruiting class?

Whether or not you think Penn State will land Dilin Jones likely depends on which recruiting service you follow most closely. Two of the most prominent outlets, 247Sports and On3, disagree as to Jones’s current leanings. On3 has Penn State as the leader in landing Jones, while 247Sports doesn’t even list the Nittany Lions as one of the running back’s top schools.

Following this weekend’s event, Jones noted that Florida State, Maryland, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin were among his top contenders, with no mention of Penn State. Jones has visits lined up with Wisconsin and Florida State in June, but hasn’t returned to Penn State since he visited for the Ohio State game last fall.

If Penn State is fading in Jones’s recruitment, it’s for a good reason. The Nittany Lions have Quinton Martin, the No.1 ranked recruit in Pennsylvania, and Corey Smith, one of the top players from Wisconsin, committed in the class of 2024. James Franklin also has four-star Kiandrea Barker committed for the 2025 cycle. This, on top of the talent already on the roster, makes for a very crowded running back room.

But there is reason to keep an eye on this recruitment. Running back depth seems to be all or nothing in recent years. If Singleton and Allen continue developing as many expect, they likely won’t be in Happy Valley much longer. Further, Quinton Martin has the versatility to line up in spots outside of the backfield.

Most importantly, recruiting can be fickle, and there’s still a long way to go before signing day. Staying in the loop with a rising regional prospect will bring nothing but positives for James Franklin and company.



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 [email protected] 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 coach James Franklin comments on recruits requesting NIL payments for recruiting visits

Last week, Ohio State AD Gene Smith testified before Congress that some prospects are requesting NIL payments to go on recruiting visits. Today, James Franklin commented on if the same thing has happened at Penn State.

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Penn State football head coach James Franklin answers a reporter's question during a press conference at football media day in Beaver Stadium on Sunday, August 6, 2023, in State College.

NIL has significantly changed the landscape of college athletics since its official introduction in July 2021. Penn State football, like everywhere else, has had to adjust accordingly. For better or worse, NIL is now a consideration in recruiting, the transfer portal, and current roster management. However, some, including Ohio State AD Gene Smith, believe that NIL has become uncontrollable and have been advocating for federal legislation on the issue. Testifying before Congress last week, Smith made the shocking claim that some recruits are requesting NIL payments in exchange for visiting college campuses. In his weekly press conference today, head coach James Franklin insinuated that Penn State has experienced the same circumstance.

Ohio State AD Gene Smith claims players ask for $5,000 for recruiting visits

Last week, Ohio State AD Gene Smith, along with representatives from the college sports world, testified before the House Committee on Small Business regarding the impact of NIL on college athletics. Smith’s testimony, which advocated for federal legislation policing NIL practices, broadly discussed the effect of the NCAA’s policy changes on Ohio State.

However, in one eyebrow-raising portion of the testimony, Smith claimed that prospects now request NIL payments in exchange for recruiting visits.

“…NIL implementation has not been without challenges,” Smith testified, in part. “When NIL was sanctioned by the NCAA, “bad actors” emerged, seeking personal gain from their ability to influence a young person and/or a family regarding an institution. This has always been a challenge, but NIL has allowed this behavior to be more aggressive. In professional sports, drafts preclude this issue, but the collegiate model relies upon recruiting, not drafting.”

“For example, student-athletes and their parents visit campuses at the expense of those universities to evaluate where they may make a commitment,” Smith continued. “A practice of asking a school for a fee to simply visit campus has emerged; asking for $5,000 just to visit has become common. During visits, discussions now emerge regarding how much a student-athlete can expect from NIL.”

Penn State football coach James Franklin comments on if recruits have requested NIL payments for visits

Today, Smith’s comments on Capitol Hill made their way to Happy Valley. During his weekly press conference ahead of Saturday’s matchup with Northwestern, James Franklin was asked if similar situations have arisen at Penn State.

“As you can probably imagine, it’s kind of like we had the discussion a few, maybe it was a year ago, when something came out from that school [Ohio State], as well, and they talked about a number, and you guys wanted to know if my number was similar, and I said, well, why would my number not be similar,” Franklin said. “People seemed shocked by that.”

Of course, Franklin’s response references comments from Ohio State head coach Ryan Day that a $13 million NIL payroll was needed to compete at an elite level in college football. While Franklin wouldn’t address the issue outright, the rest of his answer suggests that the issue is more commonplace in college athletics than many would expect.

“As you can imagine, the schools that you’re mentioning, we’re all dealing with the same challenges and issues,” Franklin continued. “We all are. So yeah, sometimes I think things are said publicly that maybe you guys weren’t aware of before. But yeah, we’re all dealing with the same challenges and issues because most of us are all recruiting the same guys. That’s about as far as I’ll get into that…”

On the field, Penn State football travels to Evanston, Illinois, this week to take on Northwestern.



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 [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. 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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BREAKING: Penn State football lands top 10 prospect in PA

Brady O’Hara a top 10 prospect in PA commits to Penn State.

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Oct 19, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions tight end Pat Freiermuth (87) reacts to a touchdown run by quarterback Sean Clifford (14) against the Michigan Wolverines during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY S

The Penn State football team has now gone three straight days a landing a commitment. Brady O’Hara has made his commitment to the Nittany Lions. He is a top 10 prospect in Pennsylvania. The 2025 class has added DJ McClary and Tiqwai Hayes in the past two days. Both players are part of Penn State’s 2025 recruiting class. The impact of the whiteout continues to prove its value on the recruiting trail.

Penn State football lands top 10 prospect in PA

Brady O’Hara is a four-star recruit in the 2025 class and he plays his high school football at North Catholic High School located in Pittsburgh, PA. He held offers from Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, UConn, and Penn State. Then, on Tuesday morning he announced his commitment to Penn State on his social media channels.

O’Hara is currently ranked as the No. 8 prospect in Pennsylvania.

Brady O’Hara plays both sides of the ball

O’Hara is listed as an athlete on 247sports because he plays both tight end and defensive end. It will be interesting to see what position he will choose to play when he gets on campus. But after watching Tyler Warren and Chop Robinson on Saturday night either position would fit him well.

Either way, he has shown that he can be successful regardless of where he lines up on the field. He can be a great red zone target or a dominant defensive end. Both positions at Penn State have developed well over the years which helped their case land this top 10 prospect in Pennsylvania.



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 [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. 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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BREAKING: Penn State football earns commitment from 4-star RB from PA

The Penn State football team has gone back-to-back days landing commitments. As they add another 4-star prospect to the 2025 recruiting class.

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Penn State football, Tiqwai Hayes, 2025 recruiting
Iowa linebacker Jay Higgins tackles Penn State running back Nick Singleton near the line of scrimmage during the White Out game at Beaver Stadium Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in State College, Pa.

After a successful whiteout game where the Penn State football team handled its business, recruiting is picking back up. Yesterday, the Nittany Lions earned a commitment from Top 100 linebacker DJ McClary. Now, James Franklin and his coaching staff go back to back days landing a commitment. The 2025 recruiting class has just earned a new member, Tiqwai Hayes.

Penn State football earns commitment from 4-star RB from PA

Last week Tiqwai Hayes received a crystal ball predicting him to land at Penn State. Today, he made that prediction become reality as he made his commitment to the Penn State football team. Hayes is a four-star prospect from Aliquippa, PA in the 2025 recruiting class according to 247sports. He attends Aliquippa High School where he has made an outstanding name for himself.

Tiqwai Hayes chose Penn State over Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and several other schools. His nickname is “Tikey” according to his Twitter/X profile and he rushed for 2,011 yards and 33 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2022.

Penn State currently has the 9th-best class in the 2025 recruiting cycle. With the addition of Hayes that should increase the Nittany Lions’ position. He will join KiAndrea Barker as the other running back commitment in this class, a theme we have seen for years. Ja’Juan Seider likes to have a pair of running backs in each cycle and he has done that yet again. In 2022 it was Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen. Then, in 2023 it was London Montgomery and Cam Wallace. Currently, in 2024 it’s Quinton Martin and Corey Smith. Now, in 2025 it’s KiAndrea Barker and Tiqwai Hayes.



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 [email protected] or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. 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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