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Take Two: Is Penn State the favorite to land RB Jalen Berger?

Jalen Berger
Jalen Berger (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

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

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MORE TAKE TWO: How big are recent visits for Zachary Evans? | Does Clemson lead for five-star Jordan Burch?

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

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals100 | Position | Team | State

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THE STORYLINE

Jalen Berger is one of the top running backs in the 2020 class and his recruitment is shaping up to be a Big Ten battle among Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan.

The Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep standout who’s ranked eighth at a loaded running back spot has talked highly of the Wolverines. But after they’ve received commitments from running backs Blake Corum and A.J. Henning so far in this class it might be a stretch to see Berger in Michigan’s class.

Ohio State is currently in a really interesting situation at running back. Four-star Bijan Robinson, who will push for a fifth star after his showing at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas, was considered a longtime Buckeyes' lean but in recent days there are whispers that Texas and USC have emerged.

Another target, four-star Jaylan Knighton, could be headed to Florida State over the Buckeyes.

That leaves Penn State, which has been continually recruiting Berger at a high level. The Nittany Lions have no running backs committed and the program has certainly produced an impressive number of them in recent years. The Don Bosco Prep four-star was on Penn State’s campus this past weekend.

Is Penn State now considered the team to beat for Berger?

CLASS OF 2020: RB rankings | Big Ten recruiting rankings

FIRST TAKE: ADAM FRIEDMAN, MID-ATLANTIC ANALYST

“We've been saying for a while now that the longer Berger's recruitment goes, the better for Penn State. Berger has said in the past that it doesn't matter to him if Michigan or Ohio State takes another running back in this class but we'll see if that holds true. Penn State definitely helped itself this weekend but Berger doesn't plan on committing until the winter so there is plenty of time for more changes in Berger's recruitment.”

SECOND TAKE: MIKE FARRELL, NATIONAL RECRUITING DIRECTOR

“We just did the top-five uncommitted running backs last week and I had Berger going to Penn State. I think Ohio State wants Robinson although I’m not sure that’s going to happen now. Michigan has loaded up and those two teams – Michigan and Ohio State–- seem to be the biggest threats right now.

“He’s a Big Ten back and Penn State gets him in the end.”

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