Penn State signs highly touted recruits from New York, California

Penn State went coast-to-coast to sign two recruits with high school most valuable player awards on their resumes.

Coach Mark Pavlik announced Thursday that high school seniors Will Bantle and Henry Payne have each signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Nittany Lions beginning in 2018.


Payne, 6-foot-4 outside attacker from Clarence, New York, as a senior earned First-Team All-Western New York honors, was a statewide all-star team selection and was a nominee for the 2016 AVCA/NYVCA Section VI Player of the Year. He also was named the tournament most valuable player earlier this year at both the Sweet Home Invitational and the Orchard Park Invitational.

“Henry has shown a live arm, and we believe his work ethic and athletically ability will serve him well at this level,” Pavlik said in a statement. “Henry has taken advantage of his high school and club experiences and I firmly believe he will contribute sooner rather than later with us.”

Bantle, a 6-foot-5 outside attacker from Los Angeles, was voted the Best Offensive Player in his high school conference and helped lead his school to a state championship during his high school career. In addition, Bantle’s high school team was No. 3 in the national rankings and went a combined 57-1 during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

“Will has shown outstanding ball control skills and a high volleyball IQ,” Pavlik said in a statement. “His high school and club volleyball development will certainly provide him with the experience to make the transition to the collegiate game very smooth. I have no doubt he will make those around him better.”

Penn State finished last season winning the EIVA regular season championship but lost in the conference tournament semifinals to end its streak of 17 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. The Nittany Lions, though, return a majority of starters from last year’s team, including outside attacker and 2016 Co-EIVA Player of the Year recipient Chris Nugent.