- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
Back in August, Penn State had moderate interest in four-star cornerback Jaleel Hytchye (Cincinnati/LaSalle). He would get a few letters to know the Nittany Lions were looking at him, and Hytchye was intrigued and wanted to learn more.
Less than two weeks ago, Penn State offered a scholarship to the cornerback, who is ranked the No. 23 at his position nationally, and he definitely wants to give the Lions a look.
“I know if I went there, [coach Bill O’Brien] is giving everyone the option to redshirt their freshman year, but if you have any type of talent you’re pretty much going to be playing and playing early is a big thing for me,” said Hyrchye, ranked No. 20 among Ohio players.
With a stadium capacity above 100,000, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound cornerback is already excited at the idea of playing in front of such a big crowd most fall Saturdays at Beaver Stadium.
“He said they play in front of 100,000 fans, so I got to be open and check it out,” Hytchye said.
Like any prospect considering Penn State, Hytchye is concerned about the issues and sanctions surrounding the program. If Hytchye enrolled at Penn State, his first three seasons would end without an opportunity to play in a bowl game, which is the biggest sticking point for him.
“The bowl game is pretty much the iffy point because as a kid you always dream of going to college and playing in a big bowl game,” he said.
Another Big Ten Leaders Division team is also keeping an eye on Hytchye, although this one has not offered.
Wisconsin is evaluating Hytchye’s midseason highlight tape and could have a decision soon. The Badgers tried to get him for a camp during the summer, but distance prevented Hytchye from making it.
“They’re back in the recruiting process,” he said.
Before the season started, Hytchye had a top five of Arizona State, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Northwestern and Pittsburgh. While he still “loves all of those schools,” he is not limiting himself to just those programs. He unofficially visited Cincinnati for the Pittsburgh game and also visited Kentucky.
“Both were great games,” he said.
With the season almost over and the playoffs no guarantee, Hytchye might not make any in-season official visits, although he would like to.
“I think I can get one or two done during the season and maybe my other three after the season,” he said.
17dMitch Sherman and Brian Bennett