Blue-White Recruiting Preview
It hasn’t taken James Franklin long to prove himself as a recruiter, since taking the Penn State head football job back on January 11th. Just over two months removed from remarkably signing 25 members to the Class of 2014, the Nittany Lions have continued their torrid stretch along the recruiting front, having already picked up 11 verbal commitments for the 2015 class.
The 11 commitments are tops in the country at this point, and Penn State currently has the third-ranked recruiting class according to Rivals.com, trailing Alabama and Texas A&M.
Franklin and company have yet another important recruiting weekend on their heels, as Penn State’s new coach preps for his first game at Beaver Stadium. Many of the already committed recruits and Class of 2014 signees will be in attendance for the Blue-White Game, along with a few of the top prospects left on the Nittany Lions’ recruiting board.
Listed below are a few of the guys to keep an eye on this weekend:
Sterling Jenkins 6’8, 296 **** OT, Pittsburgh, Pa (Baldwin High School)
Jenkins might be the most important recruit for Penn State in this class. With over 30 scholarship offers, Jenkins is the number one rated prospect in Pennsylvania at a position of dire need for the Nittany Lions. He recently cut his final list to two, with Penn State and Ohio State the remaining possibilities.
Not only is it important for Franklin to keep the top player in PA home, but it would also be another recruiting victory for Franklin over Urban Meyer. Five of Penn State’s 11 commitments list offers from the Buckeyes, and Franklin has put himself in a solid position for the number one ranked player in the state of Ohio, linebacker Jerome Baker.
Jenkins will be visiting Columbus, on Friday, before returning to Happy Valley, for the spring game on Saturday. He also has another trip planned to State College on May 5, that he says is for his parents to see the campus. There’s a chance that he could pull the trigger this weekend, but Jenkins has been very deliberate throughout the recruiting process, so many have pegged the May 5th date as a possible commitment day.
Adam McLean 6’1, 282 **** DE, Potomac, MD (Quince Orchard High)
Quince Orchard has developed into one of the top public schools in Maryland for producing Division I football talent. Alma Mater of former Penn State linebacker Bani Gbayu, QO prospects have tended to leave the state as of recently. Saturday will be McLean’s second trip to State College, more than any other school outside of Maryland.
The 10th-ranked defensive end in the country recently listed Michigan State and Penn State as his top two schools with Florida, Notre Dame and Ole Miss rounding out the top five. McLean is a guy who seems enamored with a lot of schools, but hasn’t taken many visits, which leads many to believe that distance could be a factor.
Regardless, Penn State seems to sit in solid position and a commitment this weekend certainly wouldn’t come as a complete surprise. It doesn’t hurt that McLean’s good friend Kamonte Carter, a 2015 commit, will be joining him on the trip.
Grant Newsome 6’7, 286 **** OT, Lawrenceville, NJ (Lawrenceville Prep)
Newsome is listed as the 8th-ranked prospect in New Jersey and is quickly becoming one of the fastest rising prospects in the Mid-Atlantic,` after picking up recent offers from Alabama and LSU. Penn State will most likely take two offensive tackles in this class, and with a possible commitment from Jenkins looming, Newsome’s window for being a Nittany Lion may be quickly closing.
Penn State also feels very comfortable with their standing with Austin Clark, (6’6, 285) another 4-star tackle from Lexington, Virginia. Some combination of Clark, Newsome and Jenkins will most likely round out Franklin’s offensive tackle recruiting, it’s just a question of whether they would take all three or use one of the remaining spots for a guard/center prospect.
Bottom line: Newsome has been high on Penn State since the beginning of his recruitment. Bill O’Brien’s staff had recruited him and Franklin picked up where they left off. The recent interest from the SEC schools have caught his attention, but this weekend’s trip will have a big impact on his recruitment moving forward.
What follows is an alphabetical listing of Penn State’s 2015 commitments. Italicized names indicate the prospect will be in attendance this weekend:
Josh Barajas 6’3, 212 **** LB, Merrillville, Indiana (Andrean High School)
Saquon Barkley 5’11, 219 **** RB, Whitehall, PA (Whitehall High School)
Ryan Bates 6’5, 285 **** OG, Warminster, PA (Archbishop Wood)
Ryan Buchholz 6’6, 230 *** DE, Malvern, PA (Great Valley High School)
Kamonte Carter 6’4, 230 **** ATH, Gaithersburg, MD (Gaithersburg High)
Jake Cooper 6’2, 226 *** LB, Warminster, PA (Archbishop Wood)
Steven Gonzalez 6’4, 321 **** OG, Union City, NJ (Union City High School)
Juwan Johnson 6’4, 205 **** WR, Glassboro, NJ (Glassboro High School)
Jarvis Miller 6’2, 185 *** DB, West Suffield, CT (Suffield High School)
Brandon Polk 5’9, 150 *** WR, Ashburn, VA (Briar Woods High School)
Andre Robinson 5’10, 210 **** RB, Harrisburg, PA (Bishop McDevitt)
Matt Lawrence is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and economics. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism