Building The Pipeline - Penn State
The Penn State University football team’s offense ranked 15th in the nation in 2019,
averaging 35.8 points per game. Head Coach James Franklin is looking for his team to take the next step offensively with his recruiting class of 2020, which added 15 offensive weapons.
Among these players are 2 outstanding Canadian pass-catchers: TE Theo Johnson and WR Malick Meiga. Penn State also added a class of 2021 Canadian QB to their arsenal as Christian Veilleux committed earlier this year.
Theo Johnson – TE – Windsor, Ontario
The 6’6” tight end has been turning heads all over the football world the last couple of
years. He tormented defenses and outright dominated every game that he played in. The Windsor native already has the size of a professional football player. Beyond the frame, Johnson’s abilities on the field are what attracted the impressive 24 Division I offers that he received. Johnson’s jump ball ability is second to none, and his tapes prove how much of a threat he is down the field. His size alone makes him a matchup nightmare, but his route-running and after the catch skills are what set him apart from the rest. His run-blocking talent makes him a complete tight end and gives him a serious shot to become Penn State’s future number 1 tightend. Included in his 24 offers were Alabama, Georgia, Florida State, and Ohio State. Johnson ultimately chose to sign with the Nittany Lions.
Malick Meiga – WR – Montreal, Quebec
Malick Meiga started his CEGEP football career off with a bang. The 6’4” wide receiver
was given rookie of the year honours in Division 1 of the RSEQ. Meiga has done everything it
takes to bring him to the next level over the last 2 years. He has gone to camps, put his tapes out, and let his talent do the talking. It is rare to come across a receiver as big as Meiga, who runs routes as well as he does. His ability to cut on a dime and create separation is exceptional. Pair this with his 4.42 speed and you are looking at a receiver who is scary to cover. Meiga is not afraid of contact or making the tough catches to help his team. After his rookie year, Meiga took the next step and continued to punish opposing defenses. The scholarship offers rolled in and before he knew it, he had 22 of them. Among several other offers, the Montreal native Meiga chose Penn State over Baylor, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech.
Christian Veilleux – QB – Orleans, Ontario
Christian Veilleux has come a long way since playing for the Cumberland Panthers. He
opted go south of the border to play his high school football and it is safe to say that it worked out for him. The class of 2021 quarterback threw for 2006 yards and 29 touchdowns in his 2019 campaign with Bullis School. Standing at 6’31/2”, 195 pounds, Veilleux has good size for a junior QB. His arm strength continues to develop and will undoubtedly translate to the next level. Veilleux does not shy away from making throws in tight windows, but he also shows the discipline and awareness to put the soft touch on his ball when necessary. The most interesting part of his game is his mobility. While he is not a flashy, pure dual-threat QB, Veilleux has demonstrated the ability to go and get first downs with his legs. Among his 23 Division 1 offers were Clemson, West Virginia, Michigan, and defending national champions LSU. Veilleux is looking to become the face of the Penn State Nittany Lions.
These three will not be the only ones at Penn State come fall. They will join Ottawa
natives Jesse Luketa, the junior linebacker, and Jonathan Sutherland, the senior safety. Both of them are looking to continue to make their mark on this program. Sutherland finished with 23 tackles in 2019 and Luketa had 24 as part of a great defensive team at Penn State. They will both be important figures in welcoming Theo Johnson and Malick Meiga in the coming months.
As indicated by their social media posts over the last few weeks, all four guys are looking forward to playing together and making Canada proud.