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MMQB - Did Penn State Recruiting Have Outsized Expectations for 2020?

An uptick in local talent may have helped to define current “woes”

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll keep it fairly short and sweet today: did the fairly large amount of talent in the northeast cause Penn State to have higher recruiting expectations than were perhaps reasonable for the 2020 class?

Penn State, by all accounts, had an overall positive weekend on the recruiting trail. Hosting a bunch of recruits, James Franklin and Co. were able to secure the commitments of 4-star DT Coziah Izzard, DT Fatorma Mulbah, 4-star WR Jaden Dottin, and JUCO DB Ji’Ayir Brown.

And yet, the big news is that 4-star LB Derek Wingo flipped his commitment to Florida.

The decommitment comes on the heels of a fairly rough month for the Lions, as they also suffered the losses of 4-star DB Josh Moten, 4-star OL Aaryn Parks, and 4-star OL Grant Toutant. That’s not even including some players that didn’t commit to Penn State in the first place, such as 4-star OL Michael Carmody and 5-star WR Julian Fleming.

And those are just some of the local players for which the Lions were considered serious contenders, if not the favorites at one point or another.

The greater northeast, after a couple years of lackluster talent levels, saw a huge uptick for the 2020 class. It led many to believe that Franklin and his staff could pull in a top 5 class. Nevermind that each and every single player listed above, and those not listed, have myriad reasons to pick a school to play for, beyond driving time. Academics, coaching staff, on-field product, off-field amenities, the feel of campus life, family members going to the same school - the list goes on and on. To simply point at geographic proximity and say Penn State should land all of these players is silly.

And yet, that’s what it seems like the current perception is.

Per the 247 Composite, Penn State currently has the number 19 overall class with 12 recruits, and an average player rating of 0.8925. There is plenty of room in this class, and so up to 16 more players may end up as part of the 2020 class. Some big names that are still out there include 4-stars Enzo Jennings, Theo Johnson, Keyvone Lee, Anton Harrison, Caziah Holmes, and Henry Gray, just to name a few.

Can Franklin and Friends finish the 2020 season strong? It very well may depend on how the 2019 season goes. Put together a 10-win season, and look like the team is having fun out there, and don’t be surprised to see the kids in wait-and-see mode commit.

P.S - One last thing - we’d all love to have the 5- and 4-star players. But there are generally three things that I personally consider when weighing recruits: first are starzzz, second are offers, and third are in-person evaluations by the coaching staff. If a kid camps for the coaches, and they believe he’s worth an offer - and the coaching staff accepts his commitment - then that’s frankly enough for me. They’ve done their homework, and have proven themselves quite adept at evaluating talent. James Franklin has my trust when it comes to recruiting.