Penn State 2023 Hot Board: Top cornerback targets

Ryan Snyder11/30/21
Penn State hosted Blair Academy defensive back Moussa Kanne for two visits this season. (BWI/Ryan Snyder)

Penn State has aggressively pursued defensive backs throughout James Franklin’s tenure.

Currently, the Nittany Lions hold commitments from four players who project to play in the secondary for its Class of 2022. That doesn’t include Ath. Cristian Driver, who could also play safety. He’s expected to start at wide receiver, however.

With that said, most of the 2022 defensive back commits should end up playing safety. Currently, only Florida native Cam Miller truly projects as a cornerback. It doesn’t feel as if the staff is currently pushing all that hard to fill Jordan Allen’s scholarship with another cornerback following his departure, which means next year could be a year for Penn State to take a few corners.

The Nittany Lions already have one important commitment at the position in Bridgeville, Pa., prospect Lamont Payne. When you look across the region, it’s not deep at the cornerback position, which makes Payne all the more important.

Penn State Cornerback Targets

There are two notable players who I don’t currently have on the board but I think could be added at some point.

The first of those prospects is South Carolina native Thomas Williams. The Greenville native earned an offer from Penn State back in June when he camped with the staff. He then returned for the Auburn game in September.

Not long after that second visit, there was talk that Williams had serious interest in committing to Penn State, but I was told the staff wanted to see a bit more from him before going all in. If that changes, I think there’s a real chance he’s not only added to this list but could end up at Penn State.

One other player I want to note is Governor Mifflin prospect Ayden Martin. Right now, he doesn’t hold an offer from the Nittany Lions, but I do believe the staff has real interest in him. If they miss out on others and Martin continues to progress, an offer wouldn’t surprise me.

Moussa Kane – New York, N.Y. – Blair Academy

Offers: Penn State, Boston College, Clemson, Ole Miss, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, West Virginia

The Latest – 11/30/21 – Kane is listed on both Penn State’s cornerback and safeties boards. From talking to sources, he really could play either position, but one of my more trusted contacts suggested that I should list him at corner for the time being. Either way, Kane is a very important prospect for the staff. Cornerback isn’t a deep position in the region for 2023 and Kane’s stock continues to improve. Kane’s brother, Sanoussi, is currently a member of Purdue’s squad. The 2020 recruit committed to Anthony Poindexter, so the family has a good relationship there and it should help Penn State with Moussa. It’s early, but PSU is probably the team to beat. He’s visited three times now since June. Rutgers is the only other school to get him on campus more than once. Kane is currently unranked, but that should change in the near future.

Joenel Aguero – Lynn, Mass. – St. John’s Prep

Offers: Top 10 – Penn State, Alabama, Boston College, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma

The Latest – 11/30/21 – Aguero has long been considered one of Penn State’s most important cornerback targets in this class, but right now, it feels like PSU is probably in the second half of his top 10. Georgia and Ohio State feel like the teams to beat here, as both got him on campus in October. However, he is back in the Northeast now, transferring to St. John’s Prep recently after starting the season at IMG Academy in Florida. If Penn State can get him on campus early in the offseason, we’ll reassess, but as of now, it feels like Penn State has work to do. Aguero is No. 36 nationally according to the On3 Consensus. He’s No. 26 nationally according to On3. 

Damari Brown – Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – American Heritage

Offers: Penn State, Arkansas, Auburn, Cincinnati, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Ole Miss, Oregon, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UCF, West Virginia

The Latest – 11/30/21 – Brown joined two of his American Heritage teammates, RB Mark Fletcher and CB Damon Fagan, for an unofficial visit to Penn State for the Michigan game earlier this month. He’s a Miami legacy prospect, so that should help the Canes, but overall, this recruitment is tough to read. His brother, Davonte, plays at UCF, but the Knights don’t appear to be a serious contender at the moment. Currently, I get the impression that Fagan and Fletcher are into Penn State more Brown. He’s currently unranked by On3.

Daemon Fagan – Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – American Heritage

Offers: Penn State, Arkansas, Arizona State, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Miami, NC State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Miami, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UCF, West Virginia

The Latest – 11/30/21 – Fagan visited Penn State for the first time in November. He’s been steadily speaking with Ja’Juan Seider since September, but this was his first opportunity to really get to know the staff, as Fagan and his teammates stuck around to spend time with Penn State’s staff on Sunday. This was his first visit up north – Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech and UCF have all hosted him previously – but as of now, he’s saying he plans to return for an official visit in June. Fagan is currently ranked No. 207 by the On3 Consensus. He’s No. 155 nationally by On3. 

Malik Muhammad – Dallas, Texas – South Oak Cliff

Offers: Top 12 – Penn State, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, SMU, Texas, Texas A&M

The Latest – 11/30/21 – Muhammad is one of the most coveted defensive backs in the country for 2023, earning nearly 50 scholarship offers. He announced a top 12 about three weeks ago and did include the Nittany Lions, but this will be a tough one for them to land. Terry Smith is recruiting him hard, and the two do communicate weekly, but until he visits, it’s hard to really picture Muhammad playing for the Nittany Lions. He currently ranks No. 38 nationally in the On3 Consensus and is No. 16 overall by On3. 

Antonio Robinson – Miami, Fla. – Florida Christian School

Offers: Top 12 – Penn State, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan, Miss. State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, 

The Latest – 11/30/21 – Robinson visited Penn State back in July. Both Seider and Smith have stayed in touch regularly since then, and he’s already said that he plans to come back to Penn State in the spring or summer. Florida, Miami and Michigan are a few schools we know he’s visited so far, and I believe he’s seen a few other Florida schools, too. The one thing with Robinson is his size. He’s listed a 5-foot-10, so I’ll be curious to see how much that impacts his recruitment with Penn State. Robinson is rank No. 230 inn the On3 Consensus. He’s No. 219 by On3.