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Penn State Lands Underrated WR Ejani Shakir

Ejani Shakir

Ejani Shakir

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Ejani Shakir – 2023 Receiver – Penn State Commit

The Basics

Ejani Shakir is a 6', 175-pound receiver from Winslow Township High School in Atco, New Jersey. Currently the 247Sports composite rankings rate him as a high three-star prospect, good for the 378th overall ranking nationally. Additionally, he is rated as the 47th overall receiver nationally and the seventh overall player in New Jersey. According to 247Sports, Shakir accrued offers from many schools including Penn State, Boston College, Duke, Florida State, Miami, NC State, Nebraska, Marshall, Pitt, Rutgers, Virginia, and West Virginia. When the time came to pick a school, Shakir committed to Head Coach James Franklin and the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Roster Outlook

Receivers on the team for the 2022 season include (per OurLads.com)
Parker Washington (Jr.), KeAndre Lambert-Smith (Jr.). Mitchell Tinsley Transfer (Sr.), Malick Meiga (Rs So.), Jaden Dottin (Rs So.), Liam Clifford (Rs Fr.), Harrison Wallace III (Rs Fr.), Kaden Saunders (Fr.), Mason Stahl (Rs So.), Omari Evans (Fr.), Jason Estrella (Rs Fr.).

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How he fits and opportunities for playing time

Watching his film, the three big things that stood out were speed, misdirection, and aggression. In the available film I saw from Shakir, I don’t think there was one player on the field faster than him. The first thing that stood out was the constant movement. Once the ball is snapped, he doesn’t quit running the field until the play is over. With the high-level speed he displays, Shakir mainly plays a deep threat role lining up along the outside. No verified 40-time here, but in track he has logged a verified 21.82 in the 200-meter sprint.

One thing that maybe hinders his production in high school is a lack of great quarterback throwing accuracy. He will routinely blow by opposing defensive backs in press coverage, but the passer is unable to deliver a reliable ball downfield. Despite suspect quarterback accuracy, he has quick ball tracking abilities and will adjust his body and routes in a hurry to improve his chances of bringing in the ball. He also is effective as a checkdown option in the backfield and short yardage scenarios. With his high-level reaction time, he can be a pain for opponents causing missed tackles and breaking ankles. Route running tends to be raw; he rarely runs tight routes. I think the lack of exact route running plays to his advantage as his speed it makes it harder for opposing defenders to predict his routes.

Lastly, when he doesn’t get the ball, he is still engaged and is aggressive on blocking. He isn’t the best at blocking, but the effort is there which is rare for receivers with his body type. He will need to add strength to be an effective blocker at the next level. I’m sure James Franklin will coach him up and get his technique fixed.

Considering the level of raw talent displayed, I genuinely think that this kid may be underrated. Three stars is solid but based off skill displayed and developmental upside I have a hard time believing he isn’t a consensus four star. I project that with multiple years of development in the Penn State program he could become a top option on this team. With the talent currently on the roster he likely won’t play much receiver as a freshman. Instead, I think he could provide some real value as a kick and punt returner early on.

Overall, this is a really underrated pick-up by the Penn State coaching staff. While many kids in the Nittany Lions recruiting class will likely be higher rated, the ceiling with Shakir could be higher than most. I’m very excited to see how he develops in the coming seasons. Ejani Shakir will definitely be a name to watch in the Big Ten in the future.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]