Penn State Recruiting Mailbag

Penn State Target 5* DT Trenton Thompson - SB Nation Recruiting

Still waiting for likes on the Facebook page to answer ALL of the questions you asked.

Welcome to my first official Recruiting Mailbag. I'm writing this intro quickly because I'm about to leave for vacation. If you have more questions for another mailbag next week, feel free to leave them in the comments section. For those who asked these original questions, I'll still answer all of your ridiculous questions as well...when the Facebook page reaches the necessary amount of likes. You know what you need to do. And now, on to the mailbag.

Does Franklin have a realistic shot at any of the 5 star players he has offered?

Do any of the kids find it weird that so many people want to talk to them? -Ben16

Of the five star players who have offers for Penn State, I would say Trenton Thompson and George Campbell are the only ones that are realistic. However, when I say realistic, I really mean that it is not completely impossible. Thompson has expressed an interest in getting up here for a visit, but it seems that he is more in the mindset of giving every school a fair opportunity than anything else. Campbell knows Franklin and the staff from their days at Vanderbilt, but has not yet expressed any desire in visiting State College. As we've seen, visits can change opinions in a hurry, but these are two of the most sought-after recruits in the entire country. Convincing them to leave SEC country may be too great a challenge (although Campbell did originally commit to Michigan back on July 27, 2013).

It seems like JF is targeting more QB's....

What’s the reasoning behind this? -GoodOleDays

For the simple reasoning that you can never have too many talented quarterbacks. Quarterbacks are often the most likely transfer candidates, and many were once high profile recruits. Whether it's due to a change in philosophy or a lack of available playing time, it's not uncommon to see once highly recruited signal callers take their talents elsewhere. Although we won't truly know how talented he is until he receives regular playing time, Tyler Ferguson is a good example. Another reason is that a good staff will never turn away top talent. Quarterback is arguably the most challenging position to play on a football field, and sometimes high school success just doesn't transfer to the college level. It is a very good practice to take at least one talented quarterback in each recruiting cycle, which was something that Bill O'Brien BILLIEVEd in, and something that James Franklin seems to embrace as well. Penn State is in an excellent position currently with Brandon Wimbush, and I'm currently looking further into the staff's relationship with Brady White. Brandon McIlwain (2016) is also highly interested in Penn State, and is looking to enroll early.

What is a realistic expectation of final number of '15 commits?

I’ve read anywhere from 15-25. If it’s on the high end, and attrition causes that, who are the likely current players that will have left? -Some guy named Jeff Junstrom

I have seen the same that you have. The majority of what I've seen has the class ending up being somewhere around 20 though, with multiple sources saying 25. I think it's pretty reasonable to expect more attrition with a new coaching staff being brought in, with the change in philosophy and all. Right now, my guess is that we will take 20 guys, but I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest to see 25 in the end, especially if the staff keeps hitting on their top targets.

With Saquan Barkley's commitment

and both Andre Robinson and Josh Adams considered to be heavy PSU leans, do you think we wind up with all three? Running back is really not a huge need, and this might have to be a smallish class, but word is that all of these guys are way too good to turn away. -Brett Brown

Yes, this question was asked before Andre Robinson committed. And yes, I still do expect all three to end up as Penn State Nittany Lions. Adams is looking like he is going to be converted into a linebacker, though. He is still growing, and will likely have ideal size to play linebacker in college sooner rather than later. He also fits as a hybrid receiver-running back type player. Basically, Josh Adams will be successful no matter where he lines up, offense or defense. Should he commit, the staff will find a way to get him in the lineup.

Is there any more word on the Pettibon kid from D.C.? - jcross9

Richie Petitbon is still very much on Penn State's radar, although maybe not as much as he was previously under O'Brien. He is still one of the top ranked offensive guard recruits in the country, and would still be a fantastic addition to this class. Right now his top three is still Alabama, LSU, and Penn State, with Penn State maybe having lost some ground with the coaching change. I spoke with Richie recently though, and he told me that he is definitely planning on visiting again, maybe sometime in April (scheduling a visit before the summer may be tough due to his lacrosse schedule).

Do we potentially lock up most/all of the top recruits in PA sooner or later than June? It seems like we’re two or so guys away from having 80% of the top 10. When that happens, then what state do we dominate? MD? VA? -skarocksoi

This is a tough one to answer. The remaining top Pennsylvania recruits are Sterling Jenkins, John Reid, Jordan Whitehead, and Josh Adams. While Penn State is in a great position with all of them, I'm not sure I feel comfortable saying they will all be committed by June. I think Sterling Jenkins will at least wait to visit Michigan and Ohio State one more time each before making a decision, although I do think that he will end up a Nittany Lion. Jordan Whitehead is going to be a battle with Urban Meyer and Ohio State, with Notre Dame maybe throwing their name in the hat as well. Josh Adams and John Reid are both very low key when it comes to talking with reporters, Reid especially. Adams seemingly could commit at any time, so his decision could come around Blue & White weekend. Reid is becoming one of the top CB targets in the country, and is looking to take most of, if not all of his official visits. So long story short, I think it will take a little longer than June to lock up the rest of the top PA talent. As far as what state we dominate next, the staff has targets all over the country, so I wouldn't say there is any single other state that is going to be dominated.

Do you have any idea what is going on with Richie Petitbon and Kareem Ali in regards to PSU? I thought both players were high on PSU, but I haven't heard their names as much lately. -David (via email)

I spoke with Richie Petitbon recently. He told me that he is slowing his recruitment down for the time being with lacrosse season starting up. He is still going to visit Penn State again in April though, that much he assured me. However, many believe his feelings are trending towards Alabama lately. The word is that the new staff isn't placing quite the same emphasis on Petitbon's recruitment as the previous staff, although there have also been reports that the new staff has picked up their efforts in regards to Richie recently. I talk with Richie frequently, so I can update everyone on this one as time goes on.

Ali is an interesting case. He seemed set to be the first commitment to the 2015 class, as early as last year. However, the previous staff seemed to pump the brakes and ask him to wait a little bit before committing. Ali could very well still end up at Penn State, but it is not the certainty that it once seemed to be.

That's all for this mailbag. Leave more questions for next week. Enjoy not being in the Bahamas. Suckers.

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