Football teams under a bowl ban with scholarship limitations aren’t supposed to be able to recruit at a high level. Hell, they aren’t supposed to be able to recruit at all.
That is what conventional wisdom says. James Franklin and his staff have taken conventional wisdom and curb stomped it.
Despite being in Happy Valley for about two and a half months, Franklin hadn’t been able to coach Penn State’s current football team until yesterday, when spring ball officially started. This has led to Franklin focusing most of his efforts on recruiting, and the results have shown.
Of the four major recruiting services — ESPN, Rivals, 24/7 Sports and Scout — only ESPN has yet to assess the incoming 2015 recruiting class. The other three have lauded Penn State’s class as currently constructed: Scout ranks it the fourth best class in America, while Rivals and 24/7 have ranked it as the fifth best class nationally.
To put Penn State’s class into perspective, it is the only Big Ten school’s class ranked in the top-10 nationally on 24/7 and Scout, and if this ranking holds, it would be the first time since 2006 that Penn State had a top-10 recruiting class. That class, which Rivals ranked as the No. 6 class nationally, featured several great Penn Staters, like Evan Royster, NaVorro Bowman, Jared Odrick and Aaron Maybin.
Of course, there is still a long way to go until National Signing Day 2015, and schools like Ohio State and Michigan have yet to really start recruiting — Penn State has more recruits (8) than Michigan (4) and Ohio State (3) combined.
However, along with the eight commitments in the 2015 class, there is a long list of recruits that Franklin and co. have offered, with many of those recruits considering coming to Happy Valley. While it’s not likely that Penn State keeps up its torrid recruiting pace, it’s a possibility, and if that happens, it would be bad news for the rest of the Big Ten. Also, there’s a chance we’d see James Franklin do the Carlton Dance.