Sting factor: Four-star TE Holden Staes decommits from Penn State

When a major program loses a key recruit, takes a look at how big of a blow it is to the respective school, analyzing it from a local and national level. To quantify the “sting” of each decommitment, we assign a score from 1-10, with one being no big deal and 10 being a catastrophic hit.


Holden Staes and his family took a 12-hour drive to Penn State in August and that trip convinced him that the Nittany Lions were the right pick for him.

The 2022 four-star tight end from Atlanta (Ga.) Westminster hit it off with coach James Franklin. He liked the direction of the offense and then-tight ends coach Tyler Bowen was a big factor as well.

But Penn State switched offensive coordinators heading into next season by bringing in Mike Yurcich and Bowen has left to be an assistant coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

So Staes decided in recent days to reopen his recruitment.

Penn State will stay in the mix but Texas offered recently as did Ole Miss. Georgia, Alabama, LSU and others will be involved.

An early commitment from the 2022 four-star tight end was a big win for Penn State especially as it gives the Nittany Lions another avenue into recruiting the Southeast.

But it’s still nearly a year until signing day and that means Franklin and his staff have extensive time to find another standout tight end in the next recruiting cycle.


“Staes is an excellent prospect. All of Westminster’s games were streamed this season, so I found myself watching him a lot. There’s so much to like about his potential, so this hurts for Penn State, but it also wasn’t unexpected after the news that tight ends coach Tyler Bowen would be taking a job in the NFL. Bowen, who grew up in Georgia, connected with Staes early, and that was a major reason why he felt comfortable committing.

“The good news for Nittany Lions is that I do believe his interest in PSU is genuine. He drove nearly 24 hours round trip just to drive around campus before he committed, and although Penn State’s chances take a hit without Bowen, he does have a relationship with grad assistant turned tight ends coach Ty Howle, so that should help.

“But I would also be lying if I typed that I think Staes will ultimately end up signing with the Nittany Lions now. Recommitments are rare, and Staes being down South doesn’t help. This one hurts, but Penn State’s depth and consistency recruiting at this position keeps my score from being a seven or higher.” – Ryan Snyder,

Sting Factor: 5



“Staes is a very good prospect and Penn State needs to recruit the Southeast more so this one hurts. The SEC and ACC schools will be all over him and it’s unlikely he re-commits as we see how these things often go. They will be in it until the end but right now I’d give this a 6. Penn State recruits the position so well so it’s not higher.” – Mike Farrell, National Recruiting Director,

Sting Factor: 6


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