Welcome to Black Shoe Diaries' coverage of National Signing Day 2016. Our goal is to make sure that you know everything you need to know about every member of Penn State's 2016 recruiting class, including what fans should expect from them, some highlight tape and more. We truly appreciate you taking the time to follow along with our coverage of all things Penn State recruiting-related over the past year, and we can't wait to continue to ramp up our coverage for 2017. So whether you've been reading the site for years, or a first-time reader who just stumbled upon Black Shoe Diaries, we hope you stick around.
To read up on all of the other members of the 2016 recruiting class, simply head back to the main draft board, where recruits will be added as their official letters of intent roll in.
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Blake Gillikin, aka the future of Penn State's special teams. The punter from Georgia is set to help turn one of Penn State's biggest weaknesses over the past few seasons into a strength. His huge leg will once again allow the Nittany Lions the chance to flip the field and allow the defense a chance to force the opposing offense into a huge mistake with the fire of the Beaver Stadium crowd behind them.
|High School||Westminster School (Ga.)|
|Positional Rank||#2 punter, #81 player in Georgia|
|Commitment Date||June 21, 2015|
It's perfectly possible that Blake Gillikin is one of the most impactful players in this entire class. His leg seems like it will truly be a weapon for the Nittany Lions, as he punts with both power and accuracy. He's also much more athletic than a typical punter/kicker which will allow him to move around to get his punts off if need be. It's not often that you think of a punter as a true game-changer, but with the dysfunction Penn State has seen in the special teams game, particularly punting, Gillikin could be a difference maker right away in Happy Valley.
Gillikin will have the chance to earn the starting punter job from day one. Danny Pasquariello and Chris Gulla have both had their moments during their time sharing the punting job, but neither one possesses the natural ability that Gillikin does. Though the staff may still give each guy a few chances early on in the year to see who can get it done in game situations, it shouldn't take too long for Blake to separate himself from the pack and take the starting job by the horns.