Penn State Players Going Home
New Jersey… To a lot of students on the Penn State campus it’s just another state. But to Angelo Mangiro and the fourteen other Penn State football players from the Garden State, it means something more.
It means coming home and playing football back in their home state. It means seeing family members who may not be able to come to Happy Valley to watch them play. But most importantly, it means going into High Point Solutions Stadium Saturday night and silencing the rowdy Scarlett Knights fans and earning their first conference victory of the season.
When asked what playing again in New Jersey meant to him, Mangiro replied saying, “It’s just another game, I have a great support group that travels to Penn State every week. My parents haven’t missed a game, so I’m just looking at it likes it’s the next game.”
Mangiro is just one of six starters on this Penn State team from New Jersey, along with players like Brandon Bell, Bill Belton and Brendon Mahon.
But perhaps the biggest thing that has sparked this sudden animosity from Rutgers and “That Team from Pennsylvania” is the slew of recruits the Nittany Lions have stolen from Rutgers, including highly rated Saeed Blacknall and Mike Gesicki. Blacknall, an ESPN 300 recruit and the fourteenth ranked wide receiver was one of the first commits for James Franklin and a huge loss for Rutgers who he was originally committed to.
Also something to note, of the 15 current Penn State players from New Jersey, ten of those guys had received offers from the Scarlet Knights. This game is going to play a huge role in the recruiting in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania for the upcoming recruiting classes.
The east coast has been mostly dominated by Penn State ever since Franklin took over. This could be Rutgers chance to take back some of that east coast and jump start their program from a recruiting standpoint.
This of course being Rutgers’ first game in the Big Ten is a huge game in all aspects of the program. Over 50 prospects, including many top 2016 recruits that are considering both Rutgers and Penn State, will be attendance Saturday night.
“I do think it's good for New Jersey and I think it's good for the Big Ten and I think it's good for both institutions,” said Franklin when asked about what the game means for the current state of New Jersey. “I think it's going to be a fun game and we're looking forward to playing it.”
Jeremy Fowler of CBS Sports reports that bowl reps from the Rose, Orange, Capital One and TaxSlayer Bowls will be in attendance as well as Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. With Penn State’s bowl ban being lifted this week, this is a chance for James Franklin and the Nittany Lions to impress these bowl reps in hopes of possibly earning a bid to one of the bigger bowls.
No matter the outcome Saturday night, as nice as it will be for Angelo Mangiro and the rest of his Garden State brethren to come home, they will feel a lot better if they can leave New Jersey with another win and the first conference victory of the season.
Carson Brown is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.