Josh Gattis Named Scout’s Big Ten Recruiter Of The Year

Penn State’s offensive recruting coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis was named Big Ten Recruiter of the Year by Scout for his role in helping James Franklin secure the nation’s 14th-best recruiting class.

Gattis, a three-year starter and two-time All-ACC safety during his playing days at Wake Forest, was responsible for securing several notable commits, including highly-regarded four-star cornerback John Reid and wide receiver Juwan Johnson. The first year coach also successfully lured wide receivers Brandon Polk and Irvin Charles and defensive ends Ryan Buchholz and Shareef Miller, all of whom signed with the Nittany Lions on National Signing Day.

“The whole recruiting process is down to relationships,” Gattis said on Wednesday. “Last year’s class came from a lot of different background areas that we were familiar with (at Vanderbilt), and this year, we were able to come in and build the relationships in-state. So you see predominantly, our class is in our footprint.”

“We feel like, within a six hour radius, we could get any kid in the country.”

Following a two-year stint on Franklin’s staff in Vanderbilt from 2012-13, Gattis joined Franklin in Happy Valley and immediately made his presence felt. Freshman wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton finished the season leading the Big Ten in receptions per game (6.3) and fifth in yards per game (69.2), while Eugene Lewis caught a career-high 55 catches for 751 yards. True freshmen Saeed Blacknall and Chris Godwin also contributed mightily in just their first year in the program. Blacknall hauled in 11 receptions for 112 yards on the season, including a leaping touchdown catch against Ohio State, while Godwin caught 25 passes for 321 yards and two scores, most notably his 72-yard touchdown in Penn State’s dramatic win over Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl.

On the recruting trail, Gattis wasn’t one to hold back any punches. Following the flip of Kevin Givens, a verbal commitment to Pittsburgh for over a year, Gattis turned heads with a tweet shaming negative recruiting tactics that appeared to be directed at Pitt.

Talking with the media at Penn State’s signing day on Wednesday, both Gattis and coach Franklin denied sending the message Pitt’s way, saying it was addressed to “no team specifically,” but rather the college football community as a whole. For Gattis, the focus was on making sure Penn State’s reputation remained untarnished.

“We just want to sell our product here,” Gattis said. “Recruiting, it’s competitive. A number teams try to compete with us, and we’re fortunate that for the kids, especially a number of in-state kids that we offered, we got. We sell our product, we sell our relationships, we sell everything we have to provide so those kids see through everything.”

James Franklin said he tells his coaches to “let it ride” and not get involved with Twitter spats, but as we’ve seen with offensive line coach Herb Hand, sometimes it’s necessary to set the record straight. Even so, Gattis refused to play into the feud, insisting that Penn State doesn’t have any beef with other schools — recruiting or otherwise.

“One of our hashtags is #PSUnrivaled, we truly don’t have any rivalries – and that’s anybody,” Gattis said. “We’re going to go out and find the right kid that we want, and whether he’s committed to another school or not, we’re gonna sell the product and build the relationship with him so he can get here.”

Photo: GoPSUSports

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About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.

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