With help from cows, Penn State lands Florida tight end recruit for 2021 signing class

(Wilkes-Barre) Times-Leader (TNS)
Penn State

Thanks to an interview he did with a recruiting service, Penn State’s newest prospect will be linked to the cows.

It’s not often the Nittany Lions can say that the school’s livestock helped land a football player, but then 2021 Florida tight end Nick Elksnis committed to the team on Wednesday.

“After much thought and prayer, I am humbled to say I have committed to Penn State University to continue my athletic and academic career!” Elksnis wrote on Twitter.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound junior from Jacksonville had made his first trip to Happy Valley over the weekend for Penn State’s annual Lasch Bash recruiting event.

After leaving campus, Elksnis talked to Lions247. And one of his first impressions of the school was those cows.

In a good way.

“We just toured around the campus and facilities and I absolutely loved it,” Elksnis told Lions247. “I was really interested in the fact that there are cows everywhere, it’s not a usual thing to see. It’s just not a common thing to see on a campus. I thought it was very interesting and the fact that the milk the football program uses is all from the school.”

Enough to help him decide on a school some 17 months before he can officially sign there.

Before the bovines get too much credit, it certainly helps Penn State’s case that tight ends have been highly successful over the past three seasons. Mike Gesicki turned two record-breaking years into a second-round draft selection, and successor Pat Freiermuth took over the starting job as a true freshman en route to Freshman All-America honors.

Elksnis also spoke highly of tight ends coach Tyler Bowen to Lions247, helping the Lions separate themselves from in-state programs Florida, Florida State and Miami, all of whom already offered him scholarships after his sophomore season at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville.

A three-star prospect and the country’s No. 17 tight end for 2021 in the 247Sports Composite rankings, Elksnis’ stock could be on the rise with a strong junior season. Some of the top programs in the country seem to think so, as Elksnis also boasts offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Tennessee and Virginia Tech, among others.

He becomes the second member of the Lions’ 2021 signing class, joining Maryland wide receiver Dont’e Thornton. Since committing over the winter, Thornton has already climbed into the top 50 overall recruits in the nation among juniors as the country’s No. 5 wideout for that cycle.

Penn State is up to 20 commitments for the 2020 class. Lions coach James Franklin said recently that number could approach 30 by December’s early signing period because of the increased roster attrition that has accompanied the advent of the transfer portal.