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Penn State Football’s 2018 Recruiting Class And Its Blue-Chip Ratio

Bud Elliott of SBNation put together a very compelling argument in 2014 — it takes a class made up of more four and five-star recruits than lesser rated players to put together a championship team.

Elliott makes the point that effective coaching, development, support and more all play important roles in how successful a team is. At the end of the day, though, it really all comes down to the talent that is coming in through the doors.

James Franklin is responsible for bringing the highest-ranked recruiting class to Happy Valley in over a decade.

In 2017, Georgia signed 25 incomers, 19 of whom were blue chip recruits, on its way to the National Championship game. Elliott points out that Clemson recruited at a ratio of 52 percent blue-chip from 2013-2016, ultimately taking the National Championship trophy home in 2016. It 2015, Alabama had recruited blue-chip players at an astounding 77 percent mark. The list goes on, and the trend is clear.

Luckily for Penn State fans, there’s a whole lot of talent making its way to Happy Valley.

Penn State has recruited its most elite class in years. In fact, the Nittany Lions haven’t seen a young crop of talent like this in at least a decade. 247 Sports has the Nittany Lions’ class listed as the fourth-best nationally in the 2018 cycle.

James Franklin has brought some of Penn State’s best recruits ever to Penn State in the 2018 cycle alone. Micah Parsons and Justin Shorter rank just behind Nittany Lion great Derrick Williams (class of 2005) as the three best recruits in program history. Ricky Slade, the third five-star recruit to commit to Penn State this cycle, comes in ninth in the same list. Rasheed Walker comes in at No. 28 on the list, just highlighting the incoming talent.

All of this talk about blue-chip ratio isn’t to say that Penn State is automatically a title contender for the foreseeable future. In fact, Florida State and Michigan were recruiting at elite levels, but things didn’t work out for them.

The Seminoles had an abysmal 2017 season, going 7-6 overall after losing Deondre Francois in the season opener against Alabama. Yet their 2017 recruiting class had a whopping 65 percent blue-chip ratio. Jimbo Fisher has officially signed on with Texas A&M and the program is left in relative shatters.

Michigan came in at No. 7 in the blue-chip ratio rankings in 2017, signing a class with 61 percent 4- and 5-star athletes. The Wolverines underperformed by every measure this past season, which included a walloping here in Happy Valley.

The good news is that Penn State, on average, wasn’t recruiting at that elite level under Franklin before this season. Franklin’s first three recruiting classes had a blue-chip ratio of 47.7 percent, yet the Nittany Lions have had two top-10 finishes already.

It seems as though everything is in place for Franklin and Co. to compete for National Championships in the near future.

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About the Author

Derek Bannister

Derek is a senior majoring in Economics and History. He is legally required to tell you that he's from right outside of Philly. Email Derek compliments and dad-jokes at [email protected]

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