Penn State was never going to ignore offensive tackles in its 2019 recruiting class but the position became a greater priority when the Nittany Lions lost a promising young player earlier this summer. Nana Asiedu, a top-10 tackle prospect in the 2018 cycle, announced his retirement from football on June 27.

Extensive medical evaluation that began in April revealed a diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that can cause sudden cardiac arrest. Asiedu, who remains a scholarship student at Penn State, will spend his years with the program working behind the scenes and he was seen assisting staff during during a Saturday practice session.

From a personal standpoint, his medical prognosis was emotionally difficult for all involved. From a personnel perspective, it created a key need in continued roster construction for head coach James Franklin and offensive line coach Matt Limegrover.

Penn State took a proactive approach and, in the past five days, has picked up a pair of verbal pledges from players at the position.

Zachary Franks, a Baltimore standout who holds 30 scholarship offers, committed to the Nittany Lions last Thursday. Anthony Whigan, a four-star talent considered the No. 1 overall junior college offensive lineman in 247Sports rankings, announced his addition to the class on Tuesday morning.

“They were telling me that I’m the missing piece to the puzzle and that I could truly benefit coming to State College," Whigan told Lions247 last month after attending the Lasch Bash barbecue. "Also that they believe they could take my game to a different height.”

"It’s a place that’s on the verge of winning a national title," he added.

The path to a championship is often paved by consistent, overpowering offensive line play. The presence of steady enforcers at tackle is crucial, especially with so many elite athletes finding their collegiate fit as edge rushers.

Whigan is well-equipped to excel as a protector of the perimeter for Penn State, according to an evaluation from 247Sports recruiting analyst Brian Dohn.

"Whigan’s frame is ideal to play on the edge in college, and his length and athleticism allow him to play in space against speed," Dohn wrote. "He can block the edge alone in the pass rush, and he is agile and can move laterally to handle the inside move."

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound prospect joins Lackawanna (Pa.) College teammate Jaquan Brisker — listed atop JUCO safety rankings — in the Nittany Lions' class.

Whigan and Franks (6-5, 284 pounds) provide Penn State with excellent options at tackle in the seasons ahead. Rasheed Walker — the No. 6 tackle prospect in 2018 composite rankings — arrived on campus this summer and is underway with his first college training camp.

Whigan and Franks represent half of the Nittany Lions' 2019 offensive line haul. Penn State landed a commitment from Caedan Wallace in April, then added fellow four-star guard recruit Saleem Wormley on July 23.

Penn State now carries 16 pledges in the cycle, a collection that has climbed to No. 11 nationally in composite class rankings.