Penn State football welcomes two more new Nittany Lions
The number built again over the weekend, now standing at 18 with the most recent round of arrivals. Linebacker Abdul Carter and offensive tackle Maleek McNeil officially landed at Penn State over the weekend.
With their additions, the Nittany Lion football program has its 10 January enrollees, plus the May arrivals of Drew Shelton, Cam Miller, Cristian Driver, Tyler Johnson, Alex Bacchetta, and Hunter Nourzad.
Another 10 additions remain, including nine members of the Class of 2022 and Maryland transfer defensive end Demeioun Robinson. On3 Consensus five-star defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton is next to arrive, his date set for the weekend of June 11.
In Carter and McNeil, though, Penn State has a few extra weeks to work with ahead of the 2022 season.
An On3 Consensus four-star linebacker ranked No. 223 nationally and No. 22 at the position, Carter could factor in immediately. Said by head coach James Franklin this spring to have senior film that was “as good as any guy we signed last year,” Carter appears likely to begin at Mike, where Penn State is looking to fill its vacated starting spot by Ellis Brooks.
At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Carter is strong and fast, recording a 4.5-second 40 last summer with a 10-foot-4-inch broad jump. At his size, that’s what immediately stood out to new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.
“He is a big physical kid, and big physical kids usually do well in the middle of your defense,” Diaz told reporters this spring. “He’ll probably start at a middle linebacker type spot.”
As a senior at La Salle College, Carter racked up 80 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, two sacks, and two forced fumbles, playing in nine of the program’s 11 total games last season.
Now at Penn State, the timeline Diaz set for Carter will continue to be at an accelerated pace to be as prepared to contribute as soon as possible.
“We’re going to do everything we can to push those guys to be ready to play,” Diaz said. “Now, if they’re not ready, we won’t put them in before they’re ready. But again, I think all the young guys we have coming in, we’re gonna try to push them, get them to where they can function, whether they’re here or not, in August camp, not thinking too much. But we want to see if they can help us.”
McNeil might not be in the same position to provide immediate help as Carter, but his arrival to the program this weekend is important nonetheless.
Reportedly standing at 6-foot-7, 340 pounds, McNeil is a three-star out of Walter Panas in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.
While there, McNeil played offense, defense, and even on special teams as the team’s punter.
Bill Castro, head coach for McNeil at Walter Panas last year, described his contributions thusly:
“Maleek was a tremendous addition to our football team this past season. He was a great player for us in all three phases of the game. He dominated on both the offensive and defensive line and was also an X-factor on special teams as our punter as well as producing four blocked kicks,” Castro said. “Maleek was an awesome teammate, always coaching and encouraging his peers.
“We will miss his presence next year, but he has left our program better than how he found it. We can’t wait to watch him grow at Penn State.”
Having arrived on campus this weekend, McNeil will now get that opportunity.