Penn State’s recruiting run on New Jersey continued over the weekend – and there’s still another big possibility around the corner.
James Franklin’s Nittany Lion staff received a verbal commitment over the weekend from speedy cornerback Myles Hartsfield. He’s 5-foot-10, 180 pounds and is from Sayreville War Memorial High in Parlin, N.J. He is considered a three-star prospect out of five.
His biggest attribute may be his speed, timed at 4.4 seconds time over 40 yards.
Hartsfield also claimed scholarship offers from Georgia Tech, Pitt, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Virginia, Wake Forest and, of course, home-state Rutgers.
He is the fourth New Jersey native so far in Penn State’s 16-member class of 2015. (The Lions were down to 15 after Indiana star linebacker Josh Barajas de-committed two weeks ago and chose Notre Dame instead).
Could that Jersey connection grow even stronger?
Penn State is waiting on the decision of four-star offensive tackle Grant Newsome (6-7, 290), who may be picking soon between the Lions and Michigan. And though Newsome is from Virginia, he is attending boarding school in Lawrenceville, N.J.
But first things first. Hartsfield is the third defensive back in this recruiting class and, for now, is receiving even more elite recruiting interest in track and field, said Brian Dohn, a national analyst with Scout.com.
Hartsfield, though, is football-first for college. And while he has the potential to play a hybrid receiver-running back role on offense, he’s mostly being recruited as a cornerback.
“Right now, he’s all about playing defense,” Dohn said. “He’s got good hip turn and good explosion. He’s fast. He has make-up speed. He’s a really good player.
“He wasn’t at the top of their list (at defensive back), but he’s pretty high up.”
Hartsfield joins recent commit Ayron Monroe of Washington, D.C. (6-2, 197) in the Penn State defensive backfield of the future. Both are three-star prospects. Monroe’s offer sheet included Auburn, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Iowa and Maryland.
The Lions “need more speed in the secondary and they need more length in the secondary, and that’s what Monroe is,” Dohn said. “He has plenty of time to develop.”
In the meantime, Penn State has been waiting on higher-profile cornerbacks, Jordan Whitehead from Monaca and John Reid from Philadelphia. Both are four-star prospects with offers up and down the East Coast.
Both have visited Penn State and are familiar with Franklin and his staff. But it’s uncertain if either has the Lions near a leader spot in their recruitment.