James Franklin picked up two commitments for his 2019 recruiting class within a matter of minutes on Monday afternoon.
Brandon Smith, a five-star linebacker from Virginia, and Tyler Rudolph, a four-star cornerback from Connecticut, both announced they’d be attending Penn State.
The 6-foot-4, 223-pound Smith, out of Louisa County High— where he held a ceremony to announce his decision — is the top-ranked player in his state and the No. 2 inside linebacker in the nation according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Rivals has him listed as the 53rd-best player in the country.
Smith had offers from more than 20 schools, a number of them top-tier programs: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame, among others. He only took one official visit, to Texas A&M in April.
Smith is the first linebacker to commit to Penn State in this 2019 class.
Rudolph, a cornerback out of St. Thomas More (Conn.) School, chose Penn State after receiving more than 20 offers from schools like Michigan, Iowa, Tennessee, Florida, Ohio State and Nebraska.
— 4�� (@TylerRudolph_) May 21, 2018
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Rudolph is listed as a top-25 safety in this year’s recruiting class by the 247Sports Composite rankings, and the third-best prospect out of Connecticut. Rivals has Rudolph listed as the second-best player in Connecticut and as one of the 250 best players in the recruiting class of 2019.
The two commitments come one day after cornerback Marquis Wilson, also out of Connecticut, orally gave his commitment to Penn State. Two days before, the top running back out of Virginia — Devyn Ford — picked Penn State over Virginia Tech. And last Thursday the best junior college safety in the nation, Jaquan Brisker out of Lackawanna College, chose to play for the Nittany Lions.
The five commitments bring Franklin’s total for the class of 2019 to eight — State College Area cornerback Keaton Ellis and quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson (out of DePaul Catholic in Wayne) committed last fall. Offensive guard Caedan Wallace, from the Hun School in Princeton, committed last month.