James Franklin and Penn State’s 2018 recruiting class are sitting pretty — but by no means are the Nittany Lions finished.
As it stands, Penn State boasts the No. 4 class in the country, according to 247 Sports, and the Nittany Lions could solidify or improve that mark on Wednesday’s National Signing Day 2.0.
Franklin and his staff signed 22 total prospects in December’s early signing period — a new wrinkle to college football’s recruiting season. The Nittany Lions brought in five-star studs Micah Parsons, Ricky Slade and Justin Shorter, and a slew of top Pennsylvania talent, such as Camp Hill tight end Zack Kuntz, Nazareth wideout Jahan Dotson and Pennridge linebacker Nick Tarburton.
Outside of Ohio State, Franklin’s squad has the most players signed among teams ranked in 247 Sports’ top 20, and this group has a strong chance to be Penn State’s first top-10 class since 2007.
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Still, there are a couple realistic opportunities for the Nittany Lions to bolster an already-stellar crew.
Here’s everything readers need to know going into Wednesday’s traditional signing day:
First things first, this will be Penn State’s first signing day since 2013 without Josh Gattis — Franklin’s longtime wide receivers coach who also served as the Nittany Lions’ offensive recruiting coordinator before leaving for Alabama last month.
On Dec. 20, the media spoke to Gattis and defensive recruiting coordinator Terry Smith after Franklin’s press conference.
On Wednesday, reporters will meet with Gattis’ replacement, David Corley, and new running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider — both of whom are noted recruiters.
Not having Gattis around might hurt; he ranks No. 15 among recruiters nationally, per 247 Sports. But he already helped lock up a tremendous group of wideouts in December: Shorter, Dotson and Daniel George.
Plus, there could be another pass-catcher or two added ...
Penn State’s options
Solomon Enis: Does that last name sound familiar? It should.
Enis — the son of legendary Penn State running back Curtis Enis — is a Nittany Lion legacy. But he might not pick Happy Valley in the end.
Enis, who lives in Phoenix, is a four-star wide receiver. He ranks No. 40 at his position and second overall in the state of Arizona.
Penn State has been on him for a while, offering him a scholarship 11 months ago. Since then, the likes of Oregon, Georgia and Tennessee have been after his signature.
But it looks as if it will come down to Penn State and Utah. The Utes were one of the first schools to offer Enis, and he was primarily recruited to Penn State by Gattis.
Steve Wiltfong — 247 Sports’ director of recruiting — believes Enis will choose Utah over Penn State.
We’ll find out on Wednesday afternoon whether or not Enis follows his father’s footsteps.
Rasheed Walker: This is the name to really watch on Wednesday.
Walker — a four-star offensive tackle from Maryland — is the No. 6 player at his position and No. 65 prospect in the country, per 247 Sports. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound earth-mover has fielded offers from 27 schools, including Georgia, LSU, Michigan and Notre Dame.
But the two schools it will come down to are Penn State and Ohio State.
The good news for Franklin and company is most experts are leaning toward the Nittany Lions. Nineteen of 20 recruiting experts believe Walker will pick Penn State over Ohio State, according to his 247 Crystal Ball Predictions.
If the Nittany Lions land Walker, it will be a huge boost to the class. Penn State already has two offensive tackles signed: four-star Nana Asiedu and three-star Bryce Effner. But Walker ranks higher than both.
He is scheduled to make his decision at noon Wednesday.
Shaquon Anderson-Butts: A three-star wide receiver from Harrisburg, Anderson-Butts could sign with the Nittany Lions on Wednesday. The operative word there is “could.”
If it happens, it shouldn’t come as a surprise; Anderson-Butts verbally committed to Penn State on July 15.
However, there is a slight question surrounding the Cougar’s situation.
Anderson-Butts told Land of 10 a month ago that he was on-track for a February signing following an ACT test. But Ryan Snyder of Blue White Illustrated reported Monday that academic ineligibility may be an issue.
To further cloud the waters, Andreson-Butts officially visited Marshall on Friday, per 247 Sports.
The status of Anderson-Butts, who caught 10 touchdowns as a senior, should be cleared up on Wednesday.