Blake Gillikin, ladies and gentlemen!
Home/HS: Atlanta, GA/Westminster School
Weight: 180 pounds
Recruited By: Charles Huff
Starz 'n Sheetz:
Stars: 5* per Kohl's Kicking
Offer Sheet: Penn State (obvi), Army, Georgia, Kentucky, Northwestern, Vanderbilt
Hey, we got a punter! The news came out on Friday that Penn State target Blake Gillikin -- who is one of the best punter prospects in the country, according to Kohl's Kicking – was going to announce where he's going to college today. While it was expected that he was going to Georgia, Gillikin announced on his Twitter account that he's headed to Happy Valley.
Penn State got in on Gillikin pretty late, as it only offered him a scholarship on June 5 after an unofficial visit to Happy Valley. Still, this is the B1Ggest recruit in the 2016 class. Punting is winning, y'all.
On the surface, offering a scholarship to a punter seems a bit...odd. Why waste a scholarship on a punter when you can get a soccer player or something to punt?
Well, this is kind of huge. As Bill Connelly pointed out in his excellent preview of the Nittany Lions, Penn State's special teams in 2014 were horrific, and one of the reasons James Franklin had such a successful tenure at Vanderbilt was a successful special teams unit. We've seen Penn State pick up plenty of guys to make the return game dynamic, and the kicking situation appears to be fine post-Sam Ficken, but punter is a pretty big question mark, as neither Chris Gulla nor Daniel Pasquariello were exactly dynamic at pinning opponents back last season.
Basically, Penn State needed to get better at punting, so Franklin went out and snagged one of the top punters in the class. Here's his scouting report from Kohl's Kicking:
Gillikin showed D1 leg strength at the 2015 UC Challenge and Spring Showcase. The ball jumps off his foot very well. He has good steps and natural rhythm in his punting approach. Blake is a confident punter who is very competitive. His ability was apparent throughout the camp. He likes the big stage and will be one of the best punters in his class. Blake is an all around athlete who plays multiple sports and will do well in a college enviroment.
With Gillikin's commitment, Penn State now has 11 commits in the class of 2016. The Nittany Lions have the No. 4 class in the Big Ten (although it is the conference's No. 2 class based on average player rating), and the No. 13 class nationally.
You can follow Gillikin on the Twitter machine right here: @blakegillikin.
Welcome to Penn State, Blake!