Penn State wrapped up its 2018 freshman class Wednesday and head coach James Franklin said he feels the team has addressed many of its needs.
Offensive tackle Rasheed Walker of Waldorf, Md., became the 23rd and final signee for this year’s freshman class, announcing his choice of colleges earlier Wednesday at his high school, North Point. He picked the Nittany Lions over Ohio State and Virginia Tech.
Walker’s signing gives the Lions four players on the offensive line, where Franklin likes “guys with good measurables and athleticism.” Rated four stars by major recruiting services, Walker has those credentials at 6-foot-6 and 295 pounds.
“He’s got tremendous athleticism and length,” Franklin said Wednesday on a conference call. “But the thing that’s amazing when you watch his tape is that not only is he good in space, (but) he is physical. He’s a gentleman off the field but plays with a nasty streak on the field. He has a finisher’s mentality.”
Walker was rated as the No. 3 high school offensive tackle in the nation by 247 Sports and No. 7 by Rivals.
Two other four-star offensive linemen – Fredrick “Juice” Scruggs of Erie and Nana Asiedu of Stafford, Va. – are part of Penn State’s freshman class. Bryce Effner of Aurora, Ill., a consensus three-star player, rounds out the position group.
The Nittany Lions signed 21 players to national letters of intent on Dec. 20, the first signing day, and added defensive end Jayson Oweh of Howell, N.J., two days later.
The Lions’ recruiting class was ranked fourth by ESPN and fifth by 247Sports and Rivals.
Penn State had hoped for another signing on Wednesday but wide receiver Solomon Enis of Phoenix, son of former Lions star running back Curtis Enis, opted for Utah.
Wide receiver Shaquon Anderson-Butts of Harrisburg, who made an oral commitment to Penn State last July, decided to go the junior-college route, signing with Iowa Western Community College.
The Lions lost two starting defensive tackles and two starting linebackers from last year’s team so development of young players there will be of major importance. Franklin would also like to develop a punter to back up and eventually succeed Blake Gillikin.
But all in all, he was pleased with the program’s recruiting effort.
“We’re going to have to continue recruiting and developing guys at that so we feel good about where our future stands,” Franklin said. “But really everywhere else, I think we’ve done a good job of identifying some issues and going out and recruiting.”