As part of National Letter of Intent Signing Day, Times Shamrock newspapers’ Penn State football beat writer Donnie Collins is breaking down every member of Penn State’s 2018 recruiting class. This is a look at defensive back Trent Gordon, who is ranked as the No. 29 safety prospect in the nation by Rivals and the No. 40 safety by 247sports.
School: Manvel (Tex.) HS
Projected position: Safety
Ranking: Four stars by Rivals.com and ESPN; Three stars by 247sports
Status: Signed LOI in December; Enrolled Spring 2018
Other offers: Air Force, Army, California, Colorado, Dartmouth, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Minnesota, Navy, North Carolina, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Purdue, Rice, TCU, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UCLA, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Yale.
Projection: Originally, I figured Gordon would slot in at cornerback, because of his size and overall skillset. But the more film of him you watch, the more he looks like a linebacker. His play defies his size. He’s a force against the run, and he buries receivers one-on-one on the edge. On paper, he’s the perfect fit as a third-down defensive back, coming in to get an extra DB out there, because he can stop the run and shows pretty good pass coverage skills. The knock on him right now is that his hands aren’t good enough to get a ton of interceptions, and he appears to play the man a little better than he plays the ball at this stage. But that can be cleaned up, and Gordon is an all-around solid athlete who is smart and will adjust well to the college game. Even though he enrolled early, it’s likely he’ll take a redshirt in 2018 and look to contribute in 2019.