This coming Wednesday will be the second - and final - national letter of intent day for the 2019 recruiting class. The final uncommited prospects will announce their collegiate destinations, fax in their letters of intent, and then we enter the true off season, with little football discussion until spring practice.
Under James Franklin, recruiting has gone from a questionable activity to one that is just fun. At this point in time, Penn State has the #10 recruiting class in the country, per the 247 Composite.
Last year, the Nittany Lions finished #6 overall, in the best class that Penn State has seen possibly ever. It was widely thought that 2019 would be a smaller, more lowly-ranked class than either 2018 or 2020, due to the fact that the northeast was a bit weaker than other years, in terms of recruits.
All Franklin did was go ahead and expand his recruiting footprint. The “typical” Penn State recruiting ground includes PA, NJ, and MD. The Nittany Lions also tend to look at VA, OH, DE, and NY, as nearby states that produce some good talent.
But compare the 2015 class, the first full class under Franklin, which included 25 total players - 11 from PA, five from NJ, and two from each of MD and VA. That’s 20/25 from just four states, in a class that ranked #14 in the country.
This year? No state has more than three prospects from it. In sum, 11 different states have at least one committed prospect. Similar to Ohio State under Urban Meyer, Penn State has started to look nationally when the usual stomping grounds are a bit sparse.
Currently sitting at #10 overall with just 21 commitments, the class most likely isn’t yet finished. Four-star safety Nick Cross (MD) is slated to make his final decision on Wednesday, as is four-star OL Doug Nester (WV), four-star DT Jaquaze Sorrells (FL), three-star DT Wisdom Asaboro (NC), three-star WR TJ Jones (FL), and three-star OT Dawand Jones (IN).
While it remains to be seen which, if any, of these players end up in the blue and white, the fact that PSU is currently #2 in the Big Ten says a lot, especially considering that Michigan is currently sitting at #7 overall with five more commits in their class. It is not at all unfathomable for the Nittany Lions to push closer to that #6 ranking they earned in 2018, but also push the Wolverines for the top class in the Big Ten.
Oh, and let’s not forget the 2020 class, which is slated to be one of the best ever for the good guys. Just looking through the 247 page of players that are no worse than 50% favoring the Nittany Lions gives a projected score of 267 - with just 15 players in tow. Expect Franklin and Co. to work their magic on a few of the other prospects out there leaning away from the Lions at the moment.
All in all, it’s not at all unreasonable for Penn State to pull in three straight top 10 recruiting classes between 2018, 2019, and 2020. Recruiting under Franklin is fun - oh, and the on field product is pretty entertaining as well.