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Penn State Recruiting: How Are James Franklin and Co. Doing?

It’s no secret that James Franklin and his staff are absolutely crushing the competition on the recruiting trail. It’s a well known fact that Penn State is out-recruiting fellow in-state rival Pitt by a substantial margin. But where does Penn State stand in the Big Ten? Well, here is an overview of where Penn State stands in the 2015 Big Ten recruiting rankings.

As of right now, the Nittany Lions rank thirteenth in the nation in recruiting, followed up with a second place ranking in Big Ten recruiting — the more satisfying statistic. According to, Penn State trails Ohio State by 23.31 points, while leading fellow Big Ten powerhouses Michigan State and Wisconsin by 46 and 48 points, respectively. The rest? Well, let’s just say that it’s not close. Also worth noting, Penn State and Ohio State are much closer than you’d think. Although the Buckeyes hold a 23 point advantage on the Nittany Lions, their numbers look oddly similar.

Both hold the same number of four-star commitments (13) and three-star commitments (10). Both also have a substantial number of commits locked in, with the Buckeyes edging Penn State’s number of 23 by two. The main difference? The Buckeyes locked in five-star outside linebacker Justin Hilliard — the No. 2 outside linebacker in the country, and No. 1 player in the state of Ohio. Other than that, both schools look to remain in top shape as National Signing Day approaches.

Another characteristic that makes Penn State’s already impressive recruiting ranking even more profound is the absurd number of four-star prospects. Along with the Buckeyes, Penn State is tied atop the Big Ten with 13 total four-star commitments. The next closest school? Michigan, which currently has five. These recruits are no scrubs, either. Guys like Sterling Jenkins, Saquon Barkley, Garrett Taylor, John Reid, and Juwan Johnson. Guys who certainly could’ve entertained offers elsewhere. Taylor and Reid — the future dynamic secondary duo for years to come — garnered interest from schools like Alabama, Arizona, Miami, LSU, Clemson. You name it, they most likely received it. Landing 13 four-star commitments is both a testament to Franklin’s recruiting abilities, and a message to fans that something special is being built here in Happy Valley.

While we’re at it, let’s take a glance at our neighbors in Ann Arbor. I’ll throw out a few numbers for your viewing pleasure:

  • 14 – Michigan’s current ranking in the Big Ten recruiting standings: dead last.
  • 9 – the total number of commitments Michigan currently has for 2015 — also good for dead last in the conference despite the recent addition of heralded alum Jim Harbaugh.
  • 2 – My personal favorite, as it represents the total number of Michigan commits that hail from the state of Michigan. I’m no mathematician, but two is much smaller than 10, which represents the number of Penn State commits from the state of Pennsylvania. It speaks volumes about your program when players from your state don’t even want to don the exalted “Maize and Blue,” and would rather take their talents elsewhere (right, Pitt?).
  • 143.79 – Michigan’s points total for recruiting. Where does that number rank in the conference? Dead last.

James Franklin has concocted a recipe for success, and it appears that prospective recruits are buying in. Recruiting is the first step to building a program’s core, and it seems as though Franklin and Co. are doing just fine in that regard. The future is bright on Penn State’s horizon.

About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]


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