Penn State’s win over Michigan on Saturday has already paid off on the recruiting trail.
The biggest in-season recruiting weekend for the Nittany Lions has secured a verbal commitment from Mike Gesicki, a highly regarded tight end from New Jersey.
Gesicki announced his decision publicly Thursday, choosing Penn State over Ohio State.
“I’m so blessed, thankful, and joyful to announce that I am committed to The Pennsylvania State University!” Gesicki wrote on his Twitter account.
Rated as the top tight end in the country by at least one recruiting service, Gesicki took an official visit to State College last weekend, taking in Penn State’s four-overtime epic against Michigan in person while also touring the campus.
Long considered an Ohio State lean, the four-star recruit began to look harder at Penn State’s offer last month when the NCAA announced that it would begin reducing the sanctions against the program.
His recent trip to Penn State appeared to have sealed the deal. He originally was going to decide between the Lions and Buckeyes today but ended up announcing it a day early.
At 6-foot-5 and 236 pounds, Gesicki hails from the same high school — Southern Regional — as Lions linebacker Glenn Carson. 247sports rates Gesicki as the country’s top tight end.
Gesicki is the 13th player to give a verbal commitment to Penn State for the 2014 recruiting class, which will officially sign in February. He is the first to commit since early July, as the Lions were originally allowed only a 15-man signing class because of sanctions, and most of the spots were already filled.
But the NCAA’s recent reversal will now permit Penn State to sign up to 20 players this weekend in addition to a few early enrollees who will count against last year’s class.
Lions coach Bill O’Brien said after Saturday’s improbable win that he thought it could make a difference in recruiting.
“What you see is what you get with this staff,” O’Brien said. “We’re a bunch of hard-nosed coaches that believe in a philosophy of smart, tough football. If you come to Penn State, you have a chance to play in front of 108,000 fans, you’re going to be on TV every week and you’re going to get a fantastic education.
“It’s really an unbeatable combination. Hopefully, things worked out tonight in that realm too.”