As recruiting in college football becomes more and more documented every day, that allows fans to learn more and more about the process of actually getting these kids on campus. One thing that has made recruiting coverage especially interesting to follow in the past few years, is knowing exactly who the lead recruiters are for each recruit. 247Sports does a great job tracking this, which we here at Black Shoe Diaries are going to take advantage of to figure out who the most effective recruiters were for Penn State during the 2016 recruiting cycle. So without further adieu, let's get it.
Ricky Rahne- Passing game coordinator, tight ends coach (formerly quarterbacks coach)
Hits: Connor McGovern, Jake Zembiec, Daniel Joseph, Will Fries, Brenon Thrift (Avg. rating: 0.8701)
Misses: None to speak of
Notes: Ricky Rahne did a great job with the class of 2016. Connor McGovern was a fairly easy recruit to reel in, but the others definitely took some work. He was able to keep Zembiec away from Michigan State, Joseph away from the Michigan schools, Fries away from Michigan and was able to grab Brenon Thrift at the last second on Signing Day. Coach Rahne also had a nice variety of players in his group, grabbing a center, a quarterback, two defensive ends and an offensive lineman.
Charles Huff- Special teams coordinator, running backs coach
Hits: Shane Simmons, Cam Brown, Zechariah McPhearson, Blake Gillikin, Alex Barbir (Avg. rating: 0.8867)
Misses: Lavert Hill
Notes: The other star of the 2016 recruiting class for Penn State is Charles Huff. Huff was able to secure one of Penn State's highest profile commitments in Shane Simmons, another athletic edge-type player in Cameron Brown, a solid corner in McPhearson who fits in perfectly with the other Nittany Lion corners and a pair of specialists to rejuvenate his special teams unit. Simmons is obviously the crown jewel of the group, but Huff should be commended for bringing on one of the nation's top punters and top kickers. Both should see playing time right away in 2016. If Huff had also closed on Hill, he would have been not only Penn State's top recruiter, but one of the country's best.
Sean Spencer- Run game coordinator, defensive line coach
Hits: Ellison Jordan, Tyrell Chavis, Dae'lun Darien (Avg. rating: 0.8793)
Misses: None to speak of
Notes: Coach Spencer did a nice job reloading the unit that needed some replenishing within his group of wild dogs. Jordan should be an effective pass-rusher sometime in the future, while Chavis is a body that should conceivably be able to make an impact as part of the rotation, right away. Darien was one of the receivers offered after Tre Nixon turned his attention elsewhere, and Spencer did great work to flip him from Temple in a very short period of time.
Terry Smith- Assistant head coach, defensive recruiting coordinator, cornerbacks coach
Hits: Miles Sanders, Antonio Shelton, Anthony Johnson (Avg. rating: 0.8800)
Misses: Damar Hamlin
Notes: As the defensive recruiting coordinator, Smith has a hand in the recruitment of pretty much every defensive player, from choosing who to send offers to, or accompanying the lead recruiters on visits. So while these three players were the only ones attributed to Smith, he certainly had a part in the recruitment of others. Pulling in Miles Sanders is obviously a big time get, as he is the highest-rated player in the class. Shelton and Johnson were both rush-jobs on the trail, so Smith did a nice job cleaning up. Losing Hamlin hurt, but Penn State was handicapped in that race from the beginning, with the nice depth they already possess at the cornerback spot, and having gained an early commitment from the now Michigan-bound Lavert Hill.
Josh Gattis- Offensive recruiting coordinator, wide receivers coach
Hits: Shaka Toney (Avg. rating: 0.8498)
Misses: Karamo Dioubate, Dredrick Snelson, Tre Nixon
Notes: Similar to Smith, Coach Gattis, being the offensive recruiting coordinator, had his hands in the recruitment of most of the offensive prospects. On his own, however, it wasn't the greatest class for the wide receivers coach. Grabbing and keeping Shaka Toney was a nice get for Gattis, but losing out on the two Florida receivers (Nixon and Snelson) hurt him a bit, particularly after how much time was devoted to making Nixon 'the guy'. Dioubate is a tricky one, because being close to home was a huge factor for him, as well as a lot of negative recruiting in regards to Penn State. The Lions got some good offensive talent in the class, but Gattis himself could have improved the overall profile had he hit on a few more of his targets.
Brent Pry- Associate head coach, defensive coordinator, linebackers coach
Hits: None to speak of
Misses: Brendan Ferns
Notes: Pry was understandably a bit busier during the end of this recruiting cycle, after being promoted to defensive coordinator and associate head coach. Still, 2016 wasn't Pry's crowning achievement. Gaining a commitment from Ferns would have been huge, although the elements pitched in in pushing Ferns to West Virginia. Brendan was scheduled to be at Penn State in the end of January, but the snowstorm forced he and his family to cancel the trip. There was growing optimism for Penn State in regards to Ferns, and the families of Michal Menet and Connor McGovern did a great job recruiting the Ferns family, but ultimately that lost visit could have ended up making the difference. Tough cycle for Pry.
Herb Hand- Former run game coordinator, offensive line coach (now at Auburn)
Hits: Alex Gellerstedt, Michal Menet (Avg. rating: 0.9179)
Misses: Andrew Pryts
Notes: Despite moving on the Auburn, Coach Hand played a significant role in recruiting some key pieces of Penn State's 2016 class. Michal Menet is a guy who could end up having the biggest long-term impact on the Nittany Lions, and Gellerstedt could be a vital piece, as well, if he continues to acclimate to the position. Being that Andrew Pryts' two recruiters were Hand and Shoop, Penn State didn't stand much of a chance to keep Andrew in the fold by the time Signing Day rolled around.
John Donovan- Former offensive coordinator, tight ends coach
Hits: Danny Dalton
Misses: None to speak of
Notes: Donovan was never very active on the recruiting trail, which was par for the course for the way this staff operates. Dalton didn't seem to be too shaken by Donovan moving on, however, tweeting a reaffirmation of his commitment shortly after the news broke. Still, credit Donovan for bringing a quality tight end into the program, and beating out the much-closer-to-home Boston College to do so.
Joe Moorhead (Offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach), Tim Banks (Co-defensive coordinator, safeties coach) and Matt Limegrover (Offensive line coach)
Notes: Though Moorhead, Banks nor Limegrover were technically lead recruiters for any prospects during the 2016 cycle, all three were active on the trail after being hired, particularly Moorhead and Limegrover who were instrumental in helping Penn State hold on to Miles Sanders, Michal Menet and Will Fries upon the coaching staff shake-up in Happy Valley. Expect to see Banks focus on the mid-west region in 2017, while Limegrover focuses the majority of his energy on the ridiculous amount of talent in western Pennsylvania. Hopefully Moorhead will continue to recruit, but expect to see him spend more time doing the on-campus recruiting, rather than traveling out to meet prospects.