The 2015 Penn State recruiting class is now a part of history. No longer will fans have to wonder whether or not "Player X" is going to flip, or if "Player Y" is interested in leaving his current commitment and come to Penn State. It's all not etched in stone, and upon our lovely draft board. Now that things are official, the breakdowns of the classes will begin. Now that things are official, we can do a more precise breakdown of exactly what Penn State is gaining at each position. All star rankings are based off of the 247Composite Rankings. Before we get to that though, be sure to tune in to SB Nation's official Signing Day live report, which will go live again at 5:00 ET today (February 4, 2015). I will be calling in at 5:20 ET, to talk about Penn State's class, so if you're into that sort of thing, be sure you're around at 5:20.
Penn State's 2015 Recruiting Class Positional Breakdown
Tommy Stevens (★★★)
Saquon Barkley (★★★★)
Andre Robinson (★★★★)
Juwan Johnson (★★★★)
Brandon Polk (★★★★)
Irvin Charles (★★★★)
Nick Bowers (★★★)
Jonathan Holland (★★★
Sterling Jenkins (OT) (★★★★)
Paris Palmer (JuCo) (OT) (★★★★)
Ryan Bates (OG) (★★★★)
Steven Gonzalez (OG) (★★★)
Kevin Reihner (C/OG) (Graduate Transfer from Stanford)
Ryan Buchholz (DE) (★★★★)
Shareef Miller (DE) (★★★)
Kevin Givens (DE) (★★★)
Robert Windsor (DT) (★★★)
Manny Bowen (★★★★)
Jake Cooper (★★★)
Garrett Taylor (★★★★)
John Reid (★★★★)
Ayron Monroe (★★★)
John Petrishen (★★★)
Jarvis Miller (★★★)
Kamonte Carter (★★★★)
Daiquan Kelly (★★★)
Best Overall Recruit: Saquon Barkley
It was really difficult to not pick Juwan Johnson here, but everything about Barkley just screams star. I already gushed over his incredible highlight film in the past, and my feelings haven't changed. Barkley has everything you want to see out of a high school running back. He's a powerful and electrifying athlete. But he's also a mature runner. He understands what he can and can't do on the football field. He knows when to set up his blocks, he knows when to get to the edge and he knows when to bust out the juke moves. He just gets it. I expect him to be the starting running back as early as the 2016 season.
Most Underrated Recruit: Jake Cooper
It seems like a high school middle linebacker for a team with multiple state championships under their belt should be easy to overrate, rather than underrate. And yet, here is Jake Cooper, rated as a mid-high three star by the 247Composite rankings (he is, however, a four star in 247's own rankings). Cooper still needs some work with his technique, sure, but what high school prospect doesn't? Even the most impressive linebacker recruits have a few things they need to learn. What makes Cooper so special in my eyes, is his ferocity in attacking the ball and his range. He admitted to me that he still needs to work on his man coverage skills, but as far as tracking the ball from sideline to sideline, he is already ahead of where most are. I think Cooper will be fighting for regular playing time at one of the linebacker spots by 2016.
Biggest Immediate Impact: Paris Palmer
Yeah, it's the easy answer, but it's also clear as day. Penn State desperately needs a boost at the offensive tackle spot. That much was true even before Donovan Smith declared for the NFL Draft. With Smith now out the door, Palmer becomes even more likely to play right away. Not to mention the fact that he's a Junior College recruit, so he only has two years remaining to play anyway and the staff won't waste any of those years. Where Palmer ends up, I'm not so sure of just yet (whether it's right tackle or left tackle). Regardless, he is clearly the recruit who will make the quickest impact.
Best Long Term Potential: Garrett Taylor
I had this one narrowed down to Taylor, Sterling Jenkins and Manny Bowen. While I think all three will be stars one day for the Nittany Lions, I can't help but feel like Garrett Taylor will be the kind of player you tell your kids about one day. He has fantastic size already, as well as the versatility to play both safety and corner. I see him developing into the kind of player that quarterbacks just start avoiding altogether, or the kind of player that wide receivers dread when they're coming across the middle of the field. Either way, I think Taylor has superstar written all over him.
Most Fun: Juwan Johnson
The dude's going to straight up mug any cornerback that tries to cover him. He's going to be a force of nature, and has the potential to add a true number one receiver presence to the offense.