Penn State football didn’t just make a splash in recruiting last week — it plunged into the Great Lakes region.
Penn State landed the verbal commitment of three recruits from Michigan, and now holds steady at No. 15 in 247 Sports’ class of 2021 recruiting rankings.
Two-thirds of Penn State’s Michigan haul last week came from the same family in the form of the Detroit brothers Kobe and Kalen King. The Cass Technical High (Detroit) juniors announced their commitments at a Detroit-area radio studio in collaboration with 247Sports recruiting analyst Allen Trieu.
“We just kind of planned it out two days before; it wasn’t very time-consuming,” Kobe King said on Wednesday. “My parents were involved. They were in the background with us.”
At 6-foot-1 and 223 pounds, Kobe King is designated a three-star recruit by 247 Sports. The outside linebacker has accumulated 32 scholarship offers. He’s listed at No. 21 nationally at his position, and he’s ranked as the 13th-best prospect in Michigan.
“He started developing more as a football player as he became more confident in himself in learning what to do,” Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said. “Once he started learning the plays more, he knew what to do, how to react, and what type of reaction he’s supposed to have. That’s really when he started to flourish.”
Wilcher said Kobe King’s game and skill set was further elevated when the ball was in his hands.
“When he started to run the ball, it gave him confidence,” Wilcher said. “He was able to take control of the football game as a running back and as a linebacker, and as a punter. He can boot that ball. He’s a big boy, so he has strong legs.”
Kalen King holds 33 scholarship offers and projects to arrive at Penn State as a four-star safety. At 5-11 and 170 pounds, he’s ranked as the nation’s 25th-best cornerback and as Michigan’s 11th-best prospect.
“Kalen really started to develop into a player once he started seeing he was able to compete and he knew and started being more aware of his athleticism,” Wilcher said. “The more confidence he gained, the better he became. I saw a lot of confidence out of him at a young age. He had a lot of swag.”
Penn State’s 2020 roster features a pair of Detroit-area natives in redshirt junior cornerback Donovan Johnson and freshman safety Enzo Jennings. Johnson is a Cass Tech alumnus. That familiarity — along with the solid rapport both brothers built with Penn State coach James Franklin — helped lead to their decision to verbally commit to the Nittany Lions.
“The program is beneficial both on the field and off the field,” Kobe King said. “We have some players from our school who have went there, and some players from the metro area. We asked them questions, and they had all good stuff to say. Nothing negative. All positive.”
The Nittany Lions last week also added four-star safety Jaylen Reed to their list of 2021 verbal commitments. Reed is a junior at Detroit’s Martin Luther King Jr. High, which is just three miles from Cass Tech. Kobe King said Penn State’s recent recruiting run is a testament to Penn State’s current standing in the college football landscape.
“Penn State knows what they’re doing and how to recruit,” Kobe King said. “Coach Franklin and his staff are doing a great job at the school, and they know how to win, so they’re going to get the best guys to help them win.”