Franklin Announces Recruiting Class of 2014

Story posted February 5, 2014 in CommRadio, Sports by Mike Wargon

James Franklin’s first recruiting class at Penn State is officially complete.

The 25 players that Franklin expected to sign all became official around 7:45 a.m.

“Today was about celebrating the class,” Franklin said. “All the faxes and NLIs (National Letter of Intent) we were expecting came in.”

Penn State's 2014 recruiting class highlighted on a big board at the Lasch Football Building. (Photo: Eric Sion)

The class features 14 offensive players and 11 defensive players.

Antoine White, Michael O’Connor, De’Andre Thompkins, Chasz Wright, and Tarow Barney all enrolled early and their scholarships will count towards the 2013 class.

To fill out the recruiting class Franklin brought five recruits with him from Vanderbilt.

“When we got the job we called all the Penn State commits,” Franklin said. “The next thing we did was call all our former Vanderbilt commits and to be honest a lot of those kids started to recruit us and that’s because of the relationships.”

Penn State’s class ranks 23rd in the nation and is third in the Big Ten behind Ohio State and Michigan according to ESPN Recruiting Nation.

“15 states represented. 10 team captains. 4 state championships. 3 Under Armour All-Americans. 10 commits rated 4 stars or higher depending on the recruiting service. Entire class rated 3 stars or higher depending on the recruiting service. We finished third in the Big ten which I’m not real happy about but we’ll get that fixed in the near future,” Franklin said.

After Franklin was done answering questions, offensive recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis spoke with the media and described what the last three weeks were like for the coaching staff.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride and it feels like it hasn’t reached the top yet,” said Josh Gattis the offensive recruiting coordinator.

Quarterback Michael O’Connor, wide receiver De’Andre Thompkins, and tight end Mike Gesicki headline the class.

Gesicki, who played his high school football at Southern Regional in Manahawkin, New Jersey, played in both the Under Armour All-American game and the McDonalds game.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of a kid that was invited to the Under Armour All-American game and the McDonalds All-American game. That’s pretty impressive,” Franklin said. “He’s basically a wide receiver.”

Rivals ranked Gesicki the No. 1 tight end prospect in the 2014 recruiting class.

O’Connor provides quarterback depth as Hackenberg was the only quarterback on roster.

“We all feel great about Hackenberg, but he’s the only scholarship quarterback at the time we got the job,” Franklin said. “Luckily for us when Michael first came from Canada he was in Tennessee and worked out for us and we recruited him and we had a relationship so I think that helped..”

O’Connor played in the Under Armour All-America game and threw for one touchdown.

Thompkins will provide Hackenbarg with a new weapon after the departure of Allen Robinson.

“After that to me you look at our roster we got a quarterback that we feel really good about and it would be a shame if we didn’t surround him with talent,” Franklin said.

While the players are being celebrated today, once they arrive on campus they must reset.

“We de-recruit them. Nobody cares about the star rankings whether you’re a two star or a five star, it doesn’t matter. You went from being the big man in high school to the bottom of the barrel,” Franklin said.

Penn State is still dealing with scholarship reductions in the aftermath of the sanctions.

“We have holes in the roster and were not gonna fill all of our needs and depths in one year,” Franklin said. “ The most glaring one was offensive tackle.”

The class finished with three offensive linemen.

As Franklin has reiterated since taking the job, education is just as important as athletics.

“We want winners,” Franklin said. “ I’m talking about in the classroom, guys that are handling their business in the classroom. We want guys that we can talk about and ask about in the community.”

Penn State Football Class of 2014

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School

Marcus Allen DB 6-2 200 Upper Marlboro, Md./ Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr.

Mark Allen RB 5-7 190 Hyattsville, Md./ DeMatha Catholic

Troy Apke WR 6-2 195 Mt. Lebanon, Pa./ Mount Lebanon

Tarow Barney DL 6-2 300 Bainbridge, Ga./ Bainbridge/NW Mississippi CC

Noah Beh OL 6-6 260 Scranton, Pa./ Scranton Prep

Saeed Blacknall WR 6-2 210 Manalapan, N.J./ Manalapan

Brendan Brosnan OL 6-6 285 Park Ridge, Ill./ Maine South

Torrence Brown DL 6-4 240 Tuscaloosa, Ala./ Tuscaloosa Academy

Jason Cabinda LB 6-1 240 Flemington, N.J./ Hunterdon Central

Christian Campbell DB 6-1 195 Phenix City, Ala./ Central

Koa Farmer DB 6-1 205 Lake View Terrace, Calif./ Notre Dame

Mike Gesicki TE 6-5 245 Manahawkin, N.J./ Southern Regional

Chris Godwin WR 6-2 205 Middletown, Del./ Middletown

Grant Haley DB 5-10 185 Atlanta, Ga./ The Lovett School

Trace McSorley QB 6-0 190 Ashburn, Va./ | Briar Woods

Michael O’Connor QB 6-5 225 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada/ IMG Academy (Fla.)

Amani Oruwariye DB 6-1 185 Tampa, Fla./ | Gaither

Troy Reeder LB 6-2 235 Wilmington, Del./ Salesianum School

Nick Scott RB 6-0 190 Fairfax, Va./ Fairfax

Chance Sorrell OL 6-6 270 Middletown, Ohio/ Middletown

Johnathan Thomas RB 5-11 220 Danvers, Mass./ St. John’s Prep

De’Andre Thompkins WR 6-0 175 Swansboro, N.C./ Swansboro

Antoine White DL 6-2 280 Millville, N.J./ Millville

Daquan Worley DB 5-10 180 Coatesville, Pa./ Coatesville

Chasz Wright OL 6-7 310 Woodbridge, Va./ C.D. Hylton

Mike Wargon is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email,

Cover Photo Courtesy: (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Nabil K. Mark)