Top performances from targets and commits

The high school season is underway for Penn State commits and recruiting targets. Check Land of 10 every Sunday as we spotlight the top performances of potential Nittany Lions.

The 2017 calendar turned to autumn Friday, bringing along a fresh batch of high school football games across America. Though the season remains early for most prep squads, outcomes are already beginning to supply direct impact on the pursuit of playoff spots, and several Penn State prospects stepped up.

A few future Nittany Lions led their teams to key victories with impressive performances, while a longtime target had the best performance of his young career. Here is a rundown of recruits who shined brightest among this group during another busy weekend of high school football.

  • Class: 2019
  • High School: State College (Pa.)
  • Size: 6-0, 168 pounds
  • 247Sports Composite ranking: No. 36 cornerback; No. 382 overall
  • Recruitment status: Committed to Penn State on Sept. 9, 2017

Nittany Lions legacy pledge Keaton Ellis scored 3 touchdowns for a second consecutive week, showcasing his skill set in all three phases. This hard-hitting cornerback is an excellent defensive prospect, but his most meaningful impact occurred on offense and special teams Friday night.

Ellis, the first and only member of Penn State’s 2019 recruiting class, scored on both of his receptions in a 62-25 win over Mechanicsburg. He tallied 70 total yards on those catches, according to Aaron Carr of PennLive. Ellis also provided evidence of his big-play ability with a 54-yard punt return for a touchdown that pushed State College ahead by three scores in the first quarter.


  • Class: 2019
  • High School: Flint Hill School (Oakton, Va.)
  • Size: 5-10, 178 pounds
  • 247Sports Composite ranking: No. 35 running back; No. 432 overall
  • Recruitment status: Uncommitted; offers include Boston College, Penn State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech

It’s been quite a bounce-back year for Jordan Houston, who suffered a fractured left fibula last September. His junior season started with 370 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns in the first two games.

“The start of the season wasn’t that bad for my first time back, but I’m definitely trying to do better than that for the rest of the season,” Houston told me last week.

He managed to further elevate his efforts Friday night. Houston, who landed a Penn State offer on July 26, had 388 total offensive yards and 4 touchdowns during a 41-28 victory over Collegiate. His performance featured 23 carries for 281 yards and 2 receptions for 107 yards, while adding a sack and fumble recovery.

Houston, the son of a Penn State graduate, visited Happy Valley for the Nittany Lions’ Sept. 9 game vs. Pitt. He aims to return to Beaver Stadium on Oct. 21 when Michigan comes to town.

Jordan Houston approached 400 total yards on Friday night. (Flint Hill School/Courtesy)


  • Class: 2018
  • High School: Wiregrass Ranch (Wesley Chapel, Fla.)
  • Size: 6-1, 183 pounds
  • 247Sports Composite ranking: No. 31 cornerback; No. 326 overall
  • Recruitment status: Committed to Penn State on July 6, 2017

Jordan Miner continues to serve as Mr. Do-It-All for Wiregrass Ranch, which improved to 4-0 on Friday night. This balanced defensive back intercepted a pair of passes during the first three games of his senior campaign, but offensive fireworks warranted a spotlight this weekend.

Miner rushed for 45 yards and 2 touchdowns on 4 carries. His efforts on the ground were headlined by a pair of 20-yard touchdown runs, according to Rick Brown of the Tampa Bay Times. He also delivered a scoring strike through the air, completing a 55-yard touchdown with his first pass attempt of 2017.

Through four games, Miner has 6 touchdowns on 21 offensive touches.


  • Class: 2018
  • High School: McDonogh School (Owings Mills, Md.)
  • Size: 6-5, 290 pounds
  • 247Sports Composite ranking: No. 9 defensive tackle; No. 102 overall
  • Recruitment status: Committed to Penn State on Aug. 7, 2017 

PJ Mustipher continues to decimate offensive lines, acting as a wrecking ball in the trenches. This dominant interior defensive lineman had 10 tackles — 4 for loss — and 2 sacks in his season opener, and he delivered another tremendous game Friday evening.

McDonogh traveled beyond state borders for a matchup with Malvern Prep (Pa.) and Mustipher maximized the trip. He collected 3 sacks, including a tone-setting takedown on the first Malvern offensive drive, during a 27-9 win, according to Daniel Gallen of PennLive.

Mustipher’s ability to consistently apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks separates him from a majority of defensive tackles in the 2018 recruiting cycle and could place him on a fast track to playing time at Penn State.

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