Penn State, Coach Franklin Welcome 2015 Recruits on National Signing Day

posted February 5, 2015 in Sports, CommRadio by Marley Paul

Fans of the Penn State Nittany Lions received an exclusive look at the future Wednesday evening, as they welcomed the class of 2015 recruits to Happy Valley.

February 4th, better known as National Signing Day, signals the first day prospective collegiate student-athletes may make their commitment binding by signing their National Letter of Intent.

After leading his team to a 31-30 win in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in January, head coach James Franklin went back to work, landing the 14th-ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to ESPN.com.

“We’re trying to build the most competitive environment in the country,” said Franklin. “Let’s make a statement to this country that Penn State is back!”

Coach Franklin and Penn State athletics hosted their second annual Signature Event, gathering fans to Rec Hall to see highlights from incoming players, while coach Franklin provided an extensive scouting report of each of the 25 players.

The class boasts 11 Pennsylvania commits, including seven of the top-10 ranked in-state players.

Three mid-year enrollees were on hand, as Pittsburgh native Sterling Jenkins, junior college transfer Paris Palmer and quarterback Tommy Stevens were each welcomed to the crowd by Franklin.

“When I went to sleep at night, it was all I can think about: Penn State,” said Jenkins, the one-time No. 1 overall prospect in the state of Pennsylvania. “I take great pride in being here and representing my state well.”

“Pittsburgh is Penn State country,” coach Franklin added. "We’re the state institution. We represent the whole state,” he said, adding fuel to his “dominate the state” campaign and the recent Twitter war between the Nittany Lion and new Pittsburgh coaching staffs.

“I wanted [to go to] a school that would challenge me academically … [and] on the field,” said four-star offensive tackle Paris Palmer. “I’m going to leave here with a Penn State degree that’s going to be able to take me where ever I want to go in life.”

6-foot-4 quarterback Tommy Stevens was greeted to an ovation after introducing his family in attendance, making the eight-hour commute from their hometown of Indianapolis to celebrate the moment.

“There’s not a place like this place,” said Stevens. “I only took one visit here and that was enough to show me that this was the place for me.”

Returning starters also made appearances as sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg and company hosted fans for an autograph section in the upper-level of Rec Hall.

James Franklin and the Nittany Lions will return to the field April 18, 2015 for the inaugural Blue/White intra-squad scrimmage, as they announced the 4:30 p.m. kickoff time.

Marley Paul is a junior majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact him, email mdp5300@psu.edu.