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 receiver Justin Shorter, who is a consensus top-20 prospect in the nation and the No. 1 receiving prospect in the nation according to 247sports.
School: South Brunswick (N.J.) HS
Projected position: Receiver
Ranking: Five stars by 247sports and ESPN and Rivals.com
Other offers: Boston College, Indiana, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, North Carolina, Old Dominion, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin.
Projection: Physically, Shorter looks like he was built by central casting to portray a prototypical wide receiver. He has ideal size at 6-foot-4, and although he has room to grow, he’s big and strong enough to make an immediate impact on the major-college level. He drew rave reviews from scouts at the Under Armour All-American Game in January because of his size-speed combination and the ability to manipulate his body to make plays on even poorly thrown balls. Watch his film, and you’ll see him run every kind of route, and do it well. Shorter’s hands are strong, which enable him to hold on to his catches even in traffic. He has enough speed and elusiveness at the line of scrimmage, too, to make even good cornerbacks miss on their jams. He’s not a finished product, of course, but Shorter is as good a receiving prospect as there is in the nation when you consider all of his physical skills. He can stand to run sharper routes, but he’ll get better in that regard once he gets some college-level coaching. It would be stunning if Shorter didn’t play some offensively for the Nittany Lions this season, and he may emerge as the season goes on as a boon to an offense that is going to need to figure some things out at the receiver spot.