James Franklin and his staff are still working on building their 2019 class.
Smith Vilbert — a three-star defensive end from New Jersey — picked Penn State on Friday afternoon and will sign with the Nittany Lions in February. The news comes one month after December’s early signing period yielded 18 signatures for the Nittany Lions.
Vilbert likely won’t be the final addition of the Nittany Lions’ vaunted 2019 class, either. D’Von Ellies, a four-star defensive tackle, will announce his commitment this weekend, and, like Vilbert, all of 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball predictions are pointing toward Penn State.
Vilbert, a product of St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, was a bit of a late bloomer. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound prospect picked up offers from Penn State, Florida, Oregon, Miami and Pitt in November and earned attention from Florida State in December. The No. 49-ranked defensive end in the country, per 247 Sports’ Composite rankings, visited Florida last week, but went with Sean Spencer and the Penn State staff.
Brian Dohn, a national recruiting analyst for 247 Sports, compared Vilbert to former Penn State defensive end and current Atlanta Falcons pass-rusher Jack Crawford.
Vilbert is Spencer’s third defensive end in the 2019 class, joining Adisa Isaac and Hakeem Beamon, the Nos. 4 and 20 defensive ends in the country, respectively. Both Isaac and Beamon enrolled early.