Normally, the first Wednesday of February is a wild and jubilant day in the Lasch Football Building. National signing day is typically a time for celebration as 20 or so new faces join the Penn State program.
But the party already happened back in December. Penn State dominated the early signing period, leaving only a spot or two open on Wednesday.
James Franklin and his staff added one new member and completed a 2018 class that ranks No. 5 nationally and second-best in the Big Ten, per 247 Sports.
Here’s an overview of the Nittany Lions’ star-studded class:
Rasheed Walker, OT, four stars, 6-6, 300, from North Point (Waldorf, Md.): Walker ranks No. 6 at his position and No. 65 overall, according to 247 Sports. The Maryland earth-mover is Penn State’s 13th signee with a place in the ESPN 300.
Walker had offers from Georgia, Michigan, LSU, Notre Dame and 23 other schools. But the battle for his signature came down to Penn State and Ohio State.
It was somewhat expected that Walker picked Penn State. Nineteen of 20 recruiting experts were leaning the Nittany Lions’ way on 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball Predictions as of Wednesday morning.
Expected or not, Walker officially joining the class is a significant boost. He is the third offensive tackle in the class, joining four-star Nana Asiedu and three-star Bryce Effner.
Will Levis, QB, three stars, 6-4, 222, from Xavier (Middletown, Conn.): Levis — the lone signal-caller in the class — joins a quarterback room with Trace McSorley, Tommy Stevens, Sean Clifford, Michael Shuster and Jake Zembiec.
Levis is the No. 2 player from Connecticut and No. 25 pro-style quarterback in the country and threw for 2,771 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior.
The other FBS offers Levis had were from Florida State, Ball State, Central Michigan, Ole Miss, Iowa, North Carolina, Connecticut, Cincinnati, UMass, Southern Miss, Ohio, Western Michigan, Syracuse and Toledo.
Ricky Slade, RB, five stars, 5-9, 185, from C.D. Hylton (Woodbridge, Va.): With Andre Robinson transferring and Saquon Barkley leaving for the NFL, Slade could be in for playing time.
At the very least, the No. 2 high school rusher in the nation will provide stiff competition for Miles Sanders, Mark Allen and Journey Brown.
Slade, the No. 24 overall player in the country, was named Virginia’s Gatorade Player of the Year — starring as a running back, receiver and kick returner. Slade racked up 1,978 rushing yards, 2,700 all-purpose yards and 40 total touchdowns as a senior.
Justin Shorter, WR, five stars, 6-4, 213, from South Brunswick (Monmouth Junction, N.J.): The five-star recruit is the highest-ranked player in Penn State’s class not named Micah Parsons.
Shorter — the No. 3 wide receiver and No. 15 prospect in the country — had 1,822 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns on 112 receptions (16.3 yards per catch) the past three seasons.
He fielded offers from Miami, Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin and more, before picking Penn State.
Jahan Dotson, WR, four stars, 5-11, 165, from Nazareth (Nazareth, Pa.): Dotson — the No. 5 prospect from Pennsylvania and the No. 35 wide receiver in the country — flipped from UCLA to Penn State.
Dotson set Nazareth’s school records for career receptions (187), receiving yards (2,755) and receiving touchdowns (40). As a senior, he tallied 62 catches for 889 yards and 15 scores.
Dotson received offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Southern California and more heavy-hitters. He committed to UCLA, but flipped to Penn State on Dec. 20.
Daniel George, WR, four stars, 6-1.5, 201, from Oxon Hill (Oxon Hill, Md.): A star at Oxon Hill High School in Maryland, George tallied 1,867 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns on 113 receptions over his high school career.
The 6-foot-2 target nabbed 61 catches as a senior.
When he committed to Penn State back in July, George had offers from North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Iowa, West Virginia and more.
Zack Kuntz, TE, four stars, 6-7, 221, from Camp Hill (Camp Hill, Pa.): The early enrollee is the No. 3 player in Pennsylvania and the No. 4 tight end in the nation.
A 6-foot-7, 221-pound mismatch, Kuntz recorded nearly 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns over four years.
Before choosing the Nittany Lions, he had offers from Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida State and more. He picked up interest from LSU and Oregon later, but stuck with Penn State.
Pat Freiermuth, TE, four stars, 6-5, 250, from Brooks School (North Andover, Mass.): Freiermuth — the No. 1 player in Massachusetts — is the No. 8 tight end in the country.
An all-around threat and 2016 all-state pick, Freiermuth tallied 53 catches, 1,140 yards and 13 touchdowns catches the past two seasons.
After he chose Penn State on Aug. 16, 2016, Notre Dame and Ohio State came calling, but to no avail.
Nana Asiedu, OT, four stars, 6-5, 265, from North Stafford (Stafford, Va.): Asiedu — a four-star prospect who ranks as the No. 8 offensive tackle in the country — committed to Penn State at the 2017 Blue-White Game.
Prior to that, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound force fielded offers from Florida State, Clemson, Southern California, UCLA, Auburn, Georgia, Michigan, Texas and more.
Asiedu is the No. 97 player in the country.
Fredrick “Juice” Scruggs, OC, four stars, 6-3, 270, from Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.): Scruggs is the No. 4 center in the country and No. 9 player in Pennsylvania.
The Cathedral Prep product stands at 6-foot-3, 270 pounds.
Scruggs had offers from Ohio State, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State and more.
Bryce Effner, OL, three stars, 6-5, 285, from Metea Valley (Aurora, Ill.): Effner — a 6-foot-5, 285-pound presence — was the No. 8 player in Illinois and No. 48 offensive tackle.
He held offers from only Kansas, Kansas State, Syracuse, Minnesota and Duke.
Jayson Oweh, DE, four stars, 6-5, 236, from Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.): Oweh signed with the Nittany Lions on Dec. 20, but later announced his decision on Jan. 4 during the Under Armour All-America Game.
Oweh is the No. 2 player from New Jersey and the No. 4 strongside defensive end in the country.
He ranks No. 76 among prospects nationally.
PJ Mustipher, DT, four stars, 6-4.5, 290, from McDonogh School (Owings Mills, Md.): With the departure of seniors Curtis Cothran and Parker Cothren, the four-star Maryland prospect could make an impact as a freshman.
Mustipher is the No. 6 defensive tackle in the country and comes in at No. 111 overall.
He chose Penn State over Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan, Miami, Ohio State, Michigan State and more.
Aeneas Hawkins, DT, three stars, 6-3, 265, from Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio): Hawkins — the cousin of former Cincinnati Bengals wideout Andrew Hawkins — is the No. 16 player in Ohio and No. 30 defensive tackle in the nation.
Hawkins had offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma.
Judge Culpepper, DL, three stars, 6-5, 256, from Plant (Tampa, Fla.): Culpepper, the No. 20 strongside defensive end in the country, has the size to play anywhere on the front-four.
The three-star Tampa native is the No. 82 player in Florida and son of former Florida All-American Brad Culpepper.
Culpepper tallied 77 tackles, nine tackles for loss and eight sacks as a senior at Plant High School. He had offers from Alabama, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Southern California and more.
Micah Parsons, MLB, five stars, 6-3, 235, from Harrisburg (Harrisburg, Pa.): Parsons — the No. 4 player in the country — is Penn State’s second-highest rated prospect since 247 Sports’ ratings began in 2000.
Parsons is the top Pennsylvania prospect per 247 Sports and the No. 1 defensive end nationally — but will start out at middle linebacker. As a senior at Harrisburg High School, he tallied 55 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and 27 rushing touchdowns.
After verbally committing to Penn State last February and then decommitting, Parsons picked Penn State over Georgia, Oklahoma, Nebraska and a bevy of other programs.
Jesse Luketa, LB, four stars, 6-3, 238, from Mercyhurst Prep (Erie, Pa.): Luketa ranks as the No. 9 inside linebacker in the country.
A Mercyhurst Prep product, Luketa — originally from Canada — is the No. 10 player in the Keystone State.
The 6-foot-3, 238-pound linebacker had 74 tackles, seven tackles for loss, four sacks and three interceptions as a senior.
After committing to Penn State on Feb. 3, the linebacker received offers from Ohio State, Georgia, Louisville, Oklahoma, Baylor, Florida, Michigan State and more.
Nick Tarburton, LB, four stars, 6-3.5, 242, from Pennridge (Perkasie, Pa.): Tarburton is the No. 11 inside linebacker in the country and No. 11 player in Pennsylvania.
The 6-foot-3, 242-pound linebacker racked up 294 total tackles in three years and had 19, 17 and 11 tackles for loss as a senior, junior and sophomore, respectively.
He had offers from Louisville, Michigan State, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Rutgers.
Charlie Katshir, LB, three stars, 6-3, 210, from Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.): Katshir is the No. 19 player in Pennsylvania.
He ranks as the No. 35 outside linebacker in the country, but made the Class 6A Football Writers All-State Team as a safety.
Katshir was a two-way star for the Eagles. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder recorded 1,081 total yards (715 receiving, 366 rushing) and 15 touchdowns as a senior.
Trent Gordon, CB, three stars, 5-11, 180, from Manvel (Manvel, Texas): Gordon — a top-50 Texas prospect — is a welcomed addition to Penn State’s secondary.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound corner committed to Penn State on Feb. 29 after tallying 81 tackles as a junior.
Gordon had offers from Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Tennessee and even Yale and Dartmouth.
Jordan Miner, CB, three stars, 6-1, 183, from Wiregrass Ranch (Zephyrhills, Fla.): The No. 36 cornerback nationally, Miner’s ratings may not jump off the page. But his athleticism does.
The 6-foot-1, 183-pound all-purpose player not only tallied seven interceptions and 17 passes defended the past two seasons, but also made an impact on special teams. As a junior and senior, Miner racked up 669 kickoff return yards on 23 attempts (29.1 yards per).
Miner could compete for Penn State’s primary kickoff returner spot.
Isaiah Humphries, S, three stars, 5-11, 191, from Sachse (Sachse, Texas): Humphries is the No. 36 safety in the 2018 class and No. 67 player from Texas.
As a senior at Sachse High School, he recorded 60 tackles, seven interceptions and five tackles for loss.
Humphries had offers from Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Duke, Northwestern, Mississippi State and more.
Jake Pinegar, K, three stars, 6-2, 195, from Ankeny Centennial (Ankeny, Iowa): Pinegar — the No. 9 kicker in the country — could be the Nittany Lions’ 2018 starting kicker with Tyler Davis departing and Alex Barbir transferring.
He joins rising redshirt freshman Carson Landis, senior Nick DeAngelis and preferred walk-on Vlad Hilling as Penn State’s kicking options.
Pinegar had offers from Indiana, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois and Western Illinois.