It’s Time For Penn State Baseball To Start Utilizing The Little League World Series
When you are located in the middle of Pennsylvania, recruiting baseball players is an uphill battle.
For one, Pennsylvania and its neighbors aren’t exactly hotbeds for baseball talent like southern and western states where kids can play all year ’round. Plus, any serious talent gets drawn out of state by storied baseball programs and the appeal of warm weather at SEC, Pac-12, and ACC schools.
Over the past four years, Penn State baseball’s recruiting classes have ranked Nos. 71, 45, 89, and 63 out of 100 Division I programs, according to Perfect Game. However, the Nittany Lions have one glaring recruiting advantage over its peers they have yet to tap into: the Little League World Series.
Yes, the Little League World Series. No other college in the country has the privilege of hosting the world’s best Little Leaguers in its backyard, and it would be foolish to keep letting this incredible opportunity go to waste.
Why send coaches all over the country to recruit when some of the best young players come right to you every single year? This is the perfect time to start planting the seeds in young ballplayers’ impressionable minds that Penn State is a top destination for college baseball. Sweeten the deal with some Creamery ice cream, and those kids will be ready to sign their letters of intent.
Landing a few commitments from 10-12-year-olds would also generate a ton of good publicity — just ask Lane Kiffin. More importantly, though, it would increase the Nittany Lions’ recruiting ceiling by infinity.
Penn State is currently left to fight over lower-tier recruits after most of the blue-chip players are snatched up by Major League teams or elite baseball schools. But if Rob Cooper can secure verbal commitments from freakishly athletic middle schoolers at the Little League World Series and keep them on board until their freshman years, the Nittany Lions could bring in talent that would have been inaccessible otherwise.
Just how big can this potential payoff possibly be? Imagine a world in which Cody Bellinger, Todd Frazier, Michael Conforto, Scott Kingery, Colby Rasmus, Ruben Tejada, Jason Varitek, Gary Sheffield, and Jason Bay are all Penn State baseball alums.
Each of these guys passed through Williamsport on their way to the Major League, and each could have been Nittany Lions if Penn State baseball coaches recruited smarter not harder.
Rob Cooper, it’s time to build a pipeline from Williamsport to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, so get out there and offer the next 6’0″, 12-year-old kid you see throwing 80 miles per hour a full scholarship.
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