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Take Two: Is Penn State still the front-runner for Theo Johnson?

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

Theo Johnson
Theo Johnson (Nick Lucero/

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Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and an expert from the network of team sites or a regional analyst.


Theo Johnson is one of the top prospects from Canada in Rivals history and in the last few days the four-star tight end released his top seven.

Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia, Iowa, Alabama, Michigan and Miami made the cut for the Windsor (Ontario) Holy Names standout but it looks like three teams in particular have the best chance at landing him.

The Nittany Lions definitely held the early advantage in his recruitment and they’re still near the top along with the Hawkeyes and Bulldogs, as visits to those two schools continue to intrigue him.

Johnson recently told Rivals that he is planning an official visit to Iowa for early June and then he’s looking at game-day trips to both Penn State and Georgia in the fall. All three programs have signed elite playmakers at tight end in recent years.

Is Penn State still the front-runner for Johnson? Could Iowa or Georgia start edging out the Nittany Lions as Johnson’s recruitment continues?


“Georgia and Iowa are Penn State’s top competitors. He’s been pretty high on Iowa for a while and he has that official visit set but I feel like Georgia is really Penn State’s top competition. He’s taken two visits down there recently and it’s Georgia so it’s understandable.

“With Penn State, the proof is in the visits. He’s been there four times now, maybe five, and he also has a really good relationship with coach (Tyler) Bowen and (James) Franklin has done a good job there. I still think Penn State is the favorite but I will say at the beginning of 2019 I was a little more confident than I am now.”


“You have two programs if it comes down to Penn State and Iowa that have done a very good job producing tight ends. Georgia is right there as well. Penn State has a couple in the NFL and it has some talented guys on the roster. Iowa just put two tight ends in the first round for the first time in the history of the NFL Draft.

“You can see why a kid like this who’s talented, who’s a big target, who can stretch the field, would be interested in those two programs, along with Georgia. Penn State has the edge but it’s really hard to call because he’s been to Iowa and Georgia, he’s been to Penn State multiple times. It’s going to come down to a Big Ten battle but I think Penn State probably gets him.”