Penn State’s recruiting class may have just been filled, barely ahead of national signing day.
Or maybe not quite yet.
James Franklin and his Nittany Lion staff received a verbal commitment tonight from Alabama safety Christian Campbell, listed at about 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds. He had been recruited by Franklin at Vanderbilt but did not have a Vandy or Penn State offer until today.
He quickly jumped at Franklin’s request after planning on picking between Minnesota and Indiana, said John Garcia, Jr., a recruiting analyst for Scout.com.
“The biggest thing that stood out to me is … he looks like a corner but comes up and hits like a safety,” Garcia said.
Campbell, from Phenix, City, Al., appeared to improve his stock at the end of this past season and during a postseason all-star game showcase. He also reported a late scholarship offer from Missouri.
But by the time bigger schools truly noticed him, such as many in the SEC, their defensive backs allotments already were filled, Garcia said.
When Franklin offered him today, Campbell quickly committed — without ever stepping foot on Penn State’s campus.
“The reason he didn’t get (big) offers sooner is that he’s not a blazer. He’s not going to run a 4.4 or a 4.5 on the clock. That was the biggest thing holding other programs back from him,” Garcia said.
“But this is a great get (for Penn State). I thought he was the (No. 1) emerging prospect in the state in the last month of the recruiting cycle.”
It appears as if Penn State ended up with Campbell over Florida cornerback Lamont Simmons, who visited State College on a recruiting trip last weekend. Both are regarded as three-star prospects by national recruiting sites, though Simmons reported more prestigious offers from the likes of USC and Auburn.
Campbell is Penn State’s 24th verbal commitment for the 2014 recruiting class, meaning there probably is one slot left. That final spot was made available when defensive end Lloyd Tubman recently announced his de-commitment from the Lions would be exploring more options this week.
Most commitments make their verbal pledges binding on Wednesday, national signing day.
Campbell is the sixth potential defensive back in this recruiting class, the fourth recruited by Franklin over the past three weeks.