Could Penn State Football Flip Elite Ohio State Commit?

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NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

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Could Penn State Football Flip Elite Ohio State Commit? Analysts Split

Penn State Football has not cleaned up recruiting in Pennsylvania as easily this cycle as it has in the past.

In the previous three classes, Penn State Football Recruiting has received the commitment from at least one top-three prospect from the state of Pennsylvania, earning the commitment of the top Pennsylvania prospect in both 2022 (Nick Singleton) and 2023 (Jven Williams).

Penn State Football, James Franklin
Penn State head coach James Franklin greets fans before the Blue-White game at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, April 13, 2024, in State College.

However, so far in the 2025 class, Penn State has not been able to secure the commitment of the top 7 players from Pennsylvania.

Could Penn State flip a top Pennsylvania prospect from the Ohio State Buckeyes to continue the trend of securing the top Pennsylvania talent? Two analysts are split on the issue.


Will Zahir Mathis Land with Penn State Football?

Number three overall Pennsylvania prospect, Zahir Mathis out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, committed to the Ohio State Buckeyes on January 10, kicking off a trend of Penn State missing on the top Pennsylvania talent in the 2025 class (Matt Zollers to Missouri, Andrew Olesh trending toward Michigan, and Cameron Smith to Duke).

However, last month Mathis made an official visit to Penn State while still committed to the Ohio State Buckeyes kicking off speculation on whether Penn State can flip the talented defensive end from Imhotep Institute in Philadelphia.

The question is whether that visit to Penn State is enough to put Mathis on flip watch for Penn State or whether his commitment to the Ohio State Buckeyes will remain strong after seeing State College firsthand.

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What Top Analysts are Saying About Penn State’s Flip Chances

Penn State Football, James Franklin, Penn State Football Recruiting
Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Rivals analyst Adam Freidman and Happy Valley Insider’s Richie O’Leary broke down this question after last month’s visit. Rival’s Adam Friedman called flip watch “fiction”, noting that “’flip watch’ seems to be too strong a characterization of where Mathis’s recruitment stands at this point.”

Friedman also notes that “the strong relationships Penn State has with Mathis and his inner circle should concern Ohio State but [Ohio State defensive line coach Larry] Johnson is an ace recruiter with a tremendous reputation as a defensive line coach.”

Meanwhile, Richie O’Leary on the other hand gives the Nittany Lions a better shot at flipping the top defensive player in Pennsylvania.

O’Leary reported that “word coming out of [Mathis’] visit was that the Nittany Lions have gained some serious ground in his recruitment and he’s heavily considering the idea of flipping.”

O’Leary noted that Mathis fits the mold of Penn State defensive line coach Deion Barnes, who also was from Philadelphia, played at Penn State, and made it to the NFL before returning to coach at Penn State. O’Leary further noted that Mathis’ teammate and friend running back Jabree Coleman committed to the Nittany Lions in June and has been “in his ear nonstop about joining the Nittany Lions’ recruiting class.”

While Mathis is still committed to the Buckeyes, this one could be an interesting recruitment to watch for Penn State down the stretch.

If Penn State Football wants to flip one of the top five players in the state of Pennsylvania this cycle, Mathis may be the best opportunity the Nittany Lions have.

MORE: Takeaways from Penn State’s June Recruiting Hot Streak

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