The full Blessed & Honored covering the official visitors will be coming tomorrow from Marty Leap, but there were two things from this weekend that I needed to write about, so enjoy this Monday edition of the B&H.
JULIAN FLEMING IN HAPPY VALLEY
Penn State held a 7-on-7 camp yesterday, and one of the teams in attendance was Southern Columbia. You may be familiar with Southern Columbia as it is home to five-star wide receiver Julian Fleming. As you know, he committed to Ohio State on May 31, but that didn’t stop the Penn State staff (and players) from continuing to recruit Fleming while they had him on campus.
I count six Penn State staff golf carts on the sideline of this Southern Columbia matchup.— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) June 15, 2019
Julian Fleming, as usual, is the center of attention. pic.twitter.com/oLdr0O06FC
Does this mean anything? Likely not. Fleming was there with his team to compete — it just so happened that the camp was in State College. However, the relationship between both sides still seems to be good, and if Penn State can display the stability this year that Fleming said the Nittany Lions lacked, perhaps there is a chance this won’t be Fleming’s last visit to State College.
Mostly though, I am just amused at how awkward this must have originally been for both sides. Franklin and Fleming go back three years now, and for the majority of that time, it seemed likely that Fleming would end up at Penn State. And then all of sudden, things unravel and before you know it, Fleming is off to Ohio State.
I hate comparing recruiting to dating because it’s just a lazy comparison, but in this sense, it does kind of fit. Fleming and Franklin seeing each other is kind of like when you run into an ex that you’re still not completely over — you’re just not sure what to expect. You want to be cordial, but not overly cordial. You want to make it seem like you are in a good place, but yet give them that signal that the door isn’t completely shut.
Okay, this is getting weird. Like I said, I hate the dating-recruiting comparison. Uh, we’ll see what happens with Fleming. Probably nothing until Penn State proves it on the field, but if the Nittany Lions go into the Michigan White Out game undefeated (at Iowa scares me, though), would it really be that surprising if Fleming popped up on the sideline?
2021 QB CALEB WILLIAMS IS EVERYTHING
The 2021 crop of quarterbacks is looking much stronger than 2020, and at the top of that could be Washington DC’s Caleb Williams. Although Williams doesn’t have elite size at 6-foot-1, 209 pounds, the kid might just have the most talented arm in the country, which is why he has offers from every and any university that fields a football program.
Fortunately for Penn State, Williams was back on campus on Saturday with his Gonzaga team for the 7-on-7 tournament, and if the tweets from Lions247’s Tyler Donohue and BWI’s Ryan Snyder tell us anything, he lit it up.
Start of another game for Gonzaga and QB Caleb Williams, with James Franklin watching from a few yards behind, does this on his first throw. pic.twitter.com/aqbJiokMmg— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) June 15, 2019
More from QB Caleb Williams as Gonzaga looks to advance.— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) June 15, 2019
He’s been precise and relentless in taking these kinds of shots today. pic.twitter.com/RQselduqqV
Williams only has three recorded visits this year on his 247 timeline: Oklahoma, Georgia, and now Penn State, but you can be sure that the other big boys — you know, Clemson and Alabama — will be involved in the picture too.
Penn State’s spot is pretty easy to figure out, and it’s not all that different from what we said about Fleming: the offense needs to right the ship this season. The staff deserves a ton of credit for having themselves legitimately in the mix with Williams, but it’s going to be hard to keep the interest if the offense goes through similar struggles again next season.
Generally speaking, I think quarterback recruiting is a little overrated in the sense that you don’t *need* five-star talent to win. If you look at the eight quarterback Heisman Trophy winners since 2010, only three of them were five-star prospects (Newton, Winston, and Murray), one was a four-star (RG III), and the four others were three-stars or lower (Manziel, Mariota, Jackson, and Mayfield). Yes, it’s always nice to get the five-star, but quarterback recruiting is such a crapshoot, and there’s just a lot of good ones that — even with the Elite 11 camps — fly under the radar.
That being said: it’d be really nice to land a (future) five-star like Williams. I mean, he’s just a really good player which is the main reason I’d like him, but just the pizzazz of having a quarterback of his caliber lead the 2021 class would be pretty sweet.