Penn State makes recruiting strides on Lasch Bash weekend

By Derek Levarse - [email protected]
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Last July’s Lasch Bash — Penn State’s annual major summer recruiting weekend — was about instant gratification. This year’s event leaned more toward the future for the 2019 signing class and beyond.

The 2017 Bash ended up producing five pledges over two days, four of whom ended up signing with the Lions — DT Judge Culpepper, WR Daniel George, QB Will Levis and K Jake Pinegar.

As of Sunday evening, the Nittany Lions managed to land a verbal commitment from one player in attendance — three-star North Carolina wide receiver Emery Simmons — and hoped to have laid the groundwork for more in the near future.

“DONE DEAL!” Simmons wrote late Saturday night on Twitter, attaching multiple pictures of himself in Penn State gear and with Lions coach James Franklin.

He posted some extended thoughts on Sunday evening after becoming the 13th member of the Lions’ 2019 class.

“This summer has truly been a thrill my family (and) I,” Simmons wrote. “I would just like to take this time to thank the man above for everything he has done for me and my family this far, but I know he still has more for us.

“I (would) also like to thank Coach Franklin for believing in my talents and taking my family in under their wing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder checks in as the nation’s No. 518 overall recruit for 2019 and the No. 62 receiver in the 247Sports Composite rankings. As a junior at South View High School, he caught 55 passes for 997 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Simmons had previously pledged to Indiana and North Carolina. He originally committed to the Hoosiers back in March before having more scholarship offers roll in during the spring. In June, he announced for the Tar Heels before taking a visit to State College this weekend and grabbing a spot in the Lions’ class.

Simmons said there won’t be a fourth commitment.

“It has always been a goal of mine to be a part of something like this, and I can’t pass it up,” he wrote. “With that being said, I would like to say that I am fully committed to Penn State University and that my recruiting process is now over.”

It’s the second time in two months that Penn State has flipped a recruit from the Tar Heels, following Virginia defensive lineman Hakeem Beamon at the start of June.

Simmons joins Florida’s John Dunmore as the second receiver in the class.

Beyond that, several of the country’s top soon-to-be seniors and juniors made the trip to Happy Valley, announcing their plans over social media.

And the biggest name of the bunch is still 17 months away from signing with a school.

That would be Maryland defensive end Bryan Bresee, who is the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit for the 2020 cycle. It was the second recent visit to Penn State for the Damascus High School star, who also took in the Blue-White Game in April.

As for the upcoming class, some of Penn State’s top targets who announced their attendance at the Bash were New York defensive linemen Jared Harrison-Hunte and Adisa Isaac, Virginia DL Ben Smiley and D.C. OL Walter Rouse, among others.

Looking ahead, Simmons may not end up being the only Lions’ commitment this week.

Four-star Oregon quarterback Michael Johnson Jr. previously announced he will pick his school on Wednesday with Penn State as one of his finalists along with Florida State, Miami, North Carolina State and Oregon State.

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By Derek Levarse

[email protected]

Reach Derek Levarse at 570-991-6396 or on Twitter @TLdlevarse

Reach Derek Levarse at 570-991-6396 or on Twitter @TLdlevarse