Penn State Football

What 4-star OL Grant Toutant’s flip to Ohio State means for Penn State football

Why PSU OT Rasheed Walker is ready to start

Walker, a redshirt freshman, is slated to start at left tackle after Ryan Bates left early for the NFL.
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Walker, a redshirt freshman, is slated to start at left tackle after Ryan Bates left early for the NFL.

Grant Toutant, Penn State’s first 2020 commitment back in November, became the 11th member of Ohio State’s recruiting class on Sunday night.

Toutant, a four-star tackle, flipped from the Nittany Lions to the Buckeyes — a surprising decision and one that has to hurt for Penn State’s staff just nine days after No. 1 Pennsylvania prospect Julian Fleming chose Columbus over State College.

But it’s not a devastating blow to the Nittany Lions’ recruiting efforts.

As it stands, Penn State offensive line coach Matt Limegrover has blockers to work with in the 2020 class. The Nittany Lions have commitments from five linemen: Four-star tackle Aaryn Parks, three-star tackle Olu Fashanu and three-star guards R.J. Adams, Golden Israel-Achumba and Nick Dawkins.

The Nittany Lions are still working on adding blockers this cycle, too. While he is a Notre Dame lean, according to 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball predictions, four-star tackle Michael Carmody is interested in Penn State. Three-star center Josh Fryar, who has a visit set up for June 14, is also an option as Limegrover continues to build his line. If either of them (or both) choose Penn State, it would soften the blow of Toutant’s departure.

Don’t forget about Penn State’s 2019 class, either. Four-star guards Caedan Wallace and Saleem Wormley are signed, as is four-star JUCO tackle Anthony Whigan. The Lackawanna College product has two years of eligibility ahead of him.

And then, of course, there are young linemen already with a year under the belts. Redshirt freshman Rasheed Walker is expected to start at left tackle in 2019 — and while he mentioned the NFL being his ultimate goal, that can’t happen until at least after the 2020 season. On the right side, Will Fries has two more years of eligibility. At guard, either redshirt sophomore CJ Thorpe or Mike Miranda will be first-time, full-time starters at guard.

So, no, the sky isn’t falling for Limegrover and the Nittany Lions. Toutant’s flip is just less than ideal.

Limegrover and the Nittany Lions were on the Michigan lineman before most Power 5 programs. Penn State was Toutant’s third offer when the lineman was a low-end, three-star recruit in October 2018. Since then, Toutant earned a fourth star and the attention that comes with it — eventually getting an offer from Ohio State in January.

Following a reported visit to Columbus over the weekend — at least Toutant’s fourth since Ohio State’s offer — the tackle chose the Buckeyes. “Ohio State has always been one of my dream schools to go to,” Toutant added in an interview with Lettermen Row.

Toutant will get that chance to play for the Buckeyes — and, eventually, against Penn State.