James Franklin and the Nittany Lions don't typically go the junior college route to find recruits. But Jaquan Brisker is an exception to the rule, and with good reason.
Brisker — the top-ranked JUCO safety in the country — committed to Penn State's 2019 class late Thursday night. He is the fourth member of the Nittany Lions' 2019 class and the first safety of the group.
Brisker, a three-star prospect and the No. 9 overall JUCO player in the country per 247 Sports, chose Penn State over Alabama, Pittsburgh, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Maryland, West Virginia and more.
Brisker is a product of Lackawanna College, where he starred in 2017 with 54 tackles and four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He attended a high school powerhouse at Gateway in Monroeville, but, according to an interview with Pittsburgh Sports Now, academic issues forced Brisker to attend a junior college following graduation.
He was primarily recruited by Penn State cornerbacks coach Terry Smith, who served as Gateway's head coach from 2003 to 2012.
Brisker's commitment could help shore up Penn State's safety spot. Marcus Allen and Troy Apke departed this offseason, and while Nick Scott and Garrett Taylor are in the pole position to land those starting jobs in 2018, Scott's eligibility is up after this upcoming campaign. That leaves a starting spot in 2019 up for grabs.
After another season at Lackawanna in 2018, Brisker will have two years of eligibility and the option to redshirt upon arriving at Penn State.
Brisker's commitment comes 16 or so hours before a couple more key recruiting decisions. Four-star defensive end Antonio Alfano chooses between Penn State, Alabama and Georgia at 3 p.m. Friday, while four-star running back Devyn Ford picks either Penn State or Virginia Tech at 4 p.m.