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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Why 2024 WR signee Tayseer Denmark could be a ‘difference-maker’ for Penn State

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Tysir Denmark covered his face and wiped away a few tears. On Wednesday, Denmark, a star wide receiver from Imhotep Charter and one of Penn State’s top prospects, became emotional as he was introduced as a signee for Penn State’s 2024 recruiting class.

Deion Barnes, the Nittany Lions’ defensive line coach and Philadelphia’s lead recruiter, spoke to Denmark and his family via video call, calling the signing day a “long-awaited moment.” James Franklin expressed similar sentiments at the Rush Building.

“I believe in you, Tayshia,” Franklin said via Penn State’s Signing Day livestream. “I believed in you from the beginning. … We think you’re a change-maker.”

Penn State’s recruitment of Danes was a long-term and ultimately worthwhile endeavor.

Denmark, a four-star wide receiver in the 2024 class, first received an offer from the Nittany Lions as a freshman at Roman Catholic University. Penn State was one of the first schools to extend his offer through February 2021. On Wednesday, Denmark completed its journey.

But it wasn’t a simple adoption. Denmark verbally committed to Oregon in November 2022 after receiving offers from Alabama, Texas, Ohio State and others. It wasn’t until June that Denmark changed his commitment from the Ducks to the Nittany Lions.

Even when Penn State chose Oregon, Denmark remained a priority. Franklin, Barnes and wide receivers coach Marquez Hagans supported him.

“Tayshia is a guy that we were able to get to know very well early on,” Franklin said during a signing day press conference. “We were able to evaluate him on film, but also in 7-on-7 and live in camp. Great confidence, ball skills, change of direction. We need him. That was clear from very early on and we felt like he had a chance to kind of make a difference for us in this class.”

“He’s unique in his ability to change direction and create separation. But gosh, he’s competitive as hell,” Hagans said. “And that’s what you like about him. He loves soccer. He loves to play. He loves to compete. I think his ceiling is high.”

Danish production confirms this. The 5-foot-10 playmaker was a mainstay of Roman Catholic’s 10-3 season before transferring to Imhotep for his senior season. He had 665 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 119 total offensive yards per game. Roman Catholic coach Rick Prieto called him a “generational” talent.

“We had Marvin Harrison here, we had Will Fuller, and now we have Tayseer Denmark,” Prete told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2022. “I don’t think they come very often.”

Denmark’s landing at Penn State is a win in more ways than one for Franklin and his staff. Obviously, they secured one of the best weapons in the state. But it’s also a reward for Penn State’s refocus on recruiting in Philadelphia and the surrounding area.

A few years ago, Penn State “focused” on building relationships in Philadelphia. Defensive recruiting coordinator Terry Smith, who maintains a strong role in Pittsburgh, has been moved to recruit in the area. Burns, a Philadelphia native, has been helping out as a graduate student assistant and has been helping even more since being promoted to full-time assistant this spring.

result? In addition to Denmark, Imhotep cornerback Kenny Worsley and Monsignor Bonner defensive end Mailaki Williams signed with Penn State’s 2024 class.

“There was a conscious effort to win states and metropolitan areas,” Smith said. “It’s an ongoing process because there’s so much talent out there right now. We’re just trying to make sure the good people stay here. No way. Georgia can come in and get the kid. Texas A&M can come in and get the kid. That’s what you’re fighting for, you know? Getting poached for what you want. It is not desirable.”

Denmark was almost plundered by Oregon. Instead, the Nittany Lions have a wide receiver with the potential to be a “difference-maker,” as Franklin put it.



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