Decision day is here for Milbrook, N.C., three-star offensive tackle Diego Pounds.
Will it mean good news for Penn State in the Class of 2021 for the first time since July?
All signs initially pointed to yes, as the experts involved with Rivals’ FutureCast and 247Sports’ Crystal Ball, which are the recruiting industry’s leading prediction tools, were unanimous in making Penn State the pick.
Then, on Thursday night, that changed when Blue-White Illustrated expert Ryan Snyder flipped his choice from the Lions to North Carolina.
Pounds has also been considering the Tar Heels, among others, but the Lions long ago put themselves in a strong position to become the leader for this commitment when they offered the 6-foot-6, 305-pound talent back in March and then continued to make him a priority recruit even as visits were disallowed because of an NCAA dead period caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In-state UNC, meanwhile, did not offer until Aug. 4.
As for why Pounds is deciding now, he told 247Sports:
“I just felt like I found my home. I felt like I fit there and it’s my type of people and i love the coaches and the program.”
Entering Friday, Penn State has 13 Class of 2021 commitments. The group includes two offensive linemen in four-star Maryland tackle Landon Tengwall and Harrisburg three-star guard Nate Bruce. Pounds, if he picks PSU, might be the last offensive lineman the program takes in this cycle, though it could have room for more if certain prospects become interested in the months to come.
Additionally, Pounds would be unique in the sense that he has never visited State College, as the Lions’ offer coincided with the aforementioned recruiting visit shutdown. It never lifted, of course, as that dead period now runs until Jan. 1, 2021.
Despite never stepping foot inside of the Lasch Building or Beaver Stadium, Pounds told Rivals that he has still found plenty to like about the Lions via electronic communication and virtual video visits, which have become the norm as programs sought ways to showcase all they have to offer remotely.
“I think Penn State is a great program. I really like the history there and the connections there,” he told Rivals.
“With Penn State, it’s beyond sports with them. When you look at the education they provide and the people there, it’s great. Their coaches have already made me feel like I’m part of the family there. I like that.”
Pounds is expected to announce his choice around 3 p.m. EST on social media. Will the Lions get the job done this time around, or will they again miss out on another high priority target that they have seemingly led for forever in this cycle?
We’ll find out by the close of business today.
Here is Penn State’s full 13-member Class of 2021 to date as of Friday morning:
OT Landon Tengwall – Four-star from Olney, Md.
S Jaylen Reed – Four-star from Detroit, Mich.
Ath. Zakee Wheatley – Four-star from Severn, Md.
WR Lonnie White Jr. – Four-star from Malvern, Pa.
LB Jamari Buddin – Four-star from Belleville, Mich.
CB Kalen King – Four-star from Detroit, Mich.
QB Christian Veilleux – Four-star from Potomac, Md.
DE Rodney McGraw – Three-star from Elkhart, Ind.
LB Kobe King – Three-star from Detroit, Mich.
WR Liam Clifford – Three-star from Cincinnati, Ohio
CB Jeffrey Davis Jr. – Three-star from West Hartford, Conn.
OG Nate Bruce – Three-star from Harrisburg, Pa.
K Sander Sahaydak – Bethlehem, Pa.
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