Weekend Wrap: Lasch Bash helps produce 5 commitments for PSU

Tim Owen, Staff Writer
Blue White Illustrated

That escalated quickly.

Penn State hosted its “Lasch Bash” barbecue over the weekend, which is annually one of the biggest recruiting weekends of the year. Having come and gone for July 2017, it leaves a wake of verbal commitments in its trail. Between Friday afternoon and Sunday evening, head coach James Franklin and his staff secured verbal commitments from five different recruits. Yes, for those who might have been away from the computer for the weekend, PSU added five more recruits to its Class of 2018.

In a timeframe of just over 40 hours, the Nittany Lions tacked on a defensive lineman, a quarterback, two wide receivers and a kicker. The first occurred Friday; two came Saturday; while the final two were announced Sunday evening. While a few hail from inside Penn State’s traditional recruiting footprint – Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania – a couple others come from outside of it: Florida and Iowa.

Two are ranked among the Rivals 250, and in total the five additions were enough for PSU to jump a couple spots in the team recruiting rankings. As of Monday, it had the No. 2 class in the country, according to Rivals.com, and the best class in the Big Ten after jumping Ohio State.

It was all part of a whirlwind of a weekend, one that also saw the football team host the 15th annual Lift for Life Event inside Holuba Hall. As Monday morning drags on, lets take a look back at the last few days. How did the surge of recruiting news play itself out? We recap it all, here.


Commitment No. 1

Strongside defensive end

4 STARS

Penn State
Tampa

RR: 5.8

Ht: 6'5.0"

Wt: 240.0

Class: 2018

POSITION

-

NATIONAL

STATE

Commitment status:

verbal

Penn St.

- It started off with a surprise and probably should have been a precursor of what was about to follow. Just after 12:30 p.m. on Friday is when Franklin sent out his first tweet, a simple message with three hashtags that signals to his fan base (and reporters) that a recruit has turned in his commitment.

Four-star defensive lineman Judge Culpepper had been on campus Wednesday and Thursday for an unofficial visit but left for his home in Tampa, Fla., without giving the coaches a commitment. It was believed at the time that Culpepper wanted to take another month in his recruitment to consider his options, maybe take another couple visits and then decide. But not even 24 hours after leaving campus, bang.

Culpepper, a four-star prospect, kicked off a chain of recruiting news for the weekend. He was the first but certainly wasn’t the last.


LINK: Lions add 4-star Florida DL



Commitment No. 2

Pro-style quarterback

3 STARS

Penn State
Middletown

RR: 5.5

Ht: 6'4.0"

Wt: 222.0

Class: 2018

-

POSITION

-

NATIONAL

STATE

Commitment status:

verbal

Penn St.

- It wasn’t even 24 hours later when Franklin’s next commitment tweet was sent out. This one, too, had people wondering who it might have been. Most uncommitted prospect attending the Lasch Bash hadn’t arrived on campus yet when the news popped Saturday morning, so the thinking was that it must have been a holdover from Friday’s camp. Surely it was.

Quarterback Will Levis of Middletown, Conn., had camped at PSU the evening before. He had been in communication with offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead and Franklin for a a month leading up to the visit and he knew that with a strong performance at camp that they would likely extend a scholarship offer. What Levis also knew – but wouldn’t reveal until later – was that he would accept that offer immediately upon receiving it.

That’s about what happened. The coaches offered following a strong showing in Holuba Hall, during which Levis flashed a cannon arm and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.69 seconds to prove that he’s not just a big-bodied, big-armed passer. He then went back to his room for the night to inform the other programs recruiting him that he was closing up his recruitment. Then he went back to Franklin’s office around 10:00 Saturday morning to deliver the news.


LINK: Penn State gets its quarterback for Class of 2018



Commitment No. 3

Wide Receiver

3 STARS

Penn State
Harrisburg

RR: 5.7

Ht: 6'0.0"

Wt: 197.0

Class: 2018

POSITION

-

NATIONAL

STATE

Commitment status:

verbal

Penn St.

- About two hours after Penn State added its quarterback for the class, a wide receiver jumped on board. Arriving in town for the Lasch Bash from nearby Harrisburg, Pa., that’s when Shaquon Anderson-Butts informed Franklin and the coaches that he would be joining the Nittany Lions.

Anderson-Butts had earned his offer from PSU nearly two years to the day when he visited campus for the Lasch Bash before his sophomore season. After a recruitment that has had its ups and downs along the way, word buzzed throughout the week that Anderson-Butts was the prospect who was most likely to make a commitment over the weekend. By the time he announced his decision, two others had done it before him. But he wouldn’t be the last.


LINK: WR Anderson-Butts makes the call



Commitment No. 4

Kicker

2 STARS

Penn State
Ankeny

RR: 5.3

Ht: 6'3.0"

Wt: 195.0

Class: 2018

-

POSITION

-

NATIONAL

-

STATE

Commitment status:

verbal

Penn St.

- The fourth commitment of the weekend came from off the radar as well. It was Sunday evening just before 6:00 when kicker Jake Pinegar made it public that he was the next member of PSU’s 2018 class. Traveling from Ankeny, Iowa, to camp with the Nittany Lions, Pinegar put up an outstanding effort on the practice field. Not only did he display a powerful and accurate leg, but he also showed off an abundance of athleticism during testing. In the 40-yard dash he was clocked running in 4.79 seconds. He had a 4.44-second shuttle run. His broad jump was 9-foot-6 and his triple jump went 29-8. Afterward he was informed that he had done enough to receive a formal offer.

When Pinegar gave the coaching staff his commitment once he received the scholarship, he was selecting the Lions over offers from Illinois, Bowling Green and Indiana. Iowa was another program showing strong interest.


LINK: PSU Adds K Jake Pinegar



Commitment No. 5

Wide Receiver

4 STARS

Penn State
Oxon Hill

RR: 5.8

Ht: 6'2.0"

Wt: 205.0

Class: 2018

POSITION
228
NATIONAL
7
STATE

Commitment status:

verbal

Penn St.

- Penn State had long been considered the team to beat for WR Daniel George and on Sunday night he made it official, becoming the fifth and final recruit to verbally commit during the weekend. A member of the Rivals250, George selected PSU over a top group of schools that also included Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, UNC, NC State, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Visiting for the Lasch Bash, rumor began swirling Saturday afternoon that George would be hopping on with the Nittany Lions before he left for the weekend. Just after 6:00 Sunday evening he secured his spot.


LINK: Rivals250 WR Daniel George jumps on board with PSU



**Stay tuned to Blue White Illustrated throughout the week. Penn State’s success on the summer recruiting trail isn't done yet…

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