Sean Spencer and Penn State added a late-bloomer to the “Wild Dogs.”
Joseph Appiah Darkwa, a three-star defensive tackle from Germany, committed to the Nittany Lions on Friday afternoon. Darkwa became the 21st member of Penn State’s top-10 2019 recruiting class. He will sign on Wednesday’s National Signing Day.
Darkwa’s name might not ring a bell, even to the die-hard fan. That’s because he just recently burst onto the scene.
Darkwa, who played in the German Football League for the Dusseldorf Panthers’ U-19 team, had offers from nine schools: Penn State, UCLA, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Colorado, UConn, Georgia Tech, Indiana and Virginia. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound pass-rusher visited Rutgers on Nov. 30, earned offers from UCLA, Indiana and Cincinnati in December and caught the eye of Penn State and Colorado in early January, per 247 Sports.
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Darkwa — the No. 1 player in Germany and No. 69 defensive tackle in the 2019 class — was expected to pick Penn State. Six of six experts on 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball predictions had the prospect landing in Happy Valley. Darkwa visited the Nittany Lions last weekend, where he “really felt the love,” according to his Twitter.
Darkwa might be seen as a long-term project, but his addition does help with Penn State’s depth at defensive tackle. Kevin Givens unexpectedly bolted for the NFL, leaving Robert Windsor and either Antonio Shelton, Fred Hansard or PJ Mustipher as the other starter. Those four — along with Ellison Jordan, Damion Barber and Judge Culpepper — ought to be enough to get the Nittany Lions through 2019. But Darkwa could make a significant impact beyond that.
Brandon Collier of PPI Recruits, who has worked with Darkwa and other European prospects, compared him to Ohio State’s Dre’Mont Jones, who might be selected in the first round of April’s NFL draft.
“What makes this kid special is he is 6-foot-5, 270 pounds, but he moves like he is so much smaller,” Collier told 247 Sports. “His body types are in the NFL. He is a kid that has everything you are looking for in a 3 technique. He reminds me of Dre’Mont Jones, the Ohio State defensive tackle. I believe he will be every bit of that in college.”