James Franklin’s DMV Recruiting Pipeline Continues To Pay Dividends
When Penn State Football head coach James Franklin signed his monster contract extension through 2031 in November, one of the justifications was his recruiting acumen. While Franklin’s gameday coaching may be a controversial discussion point, it’s rather hard to argue against the Nittany Lions’ recent spell of successful recruiting.
Once Penn State’s 2022 Class was signed, it finished with a No. 6 national ranking and the most five-star recruits in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions’ Class of 2023 is off to a similar start already, according to 247Sports:
- Alex Birchmeier, IOL (Ashburn, Va.) ☆☆☆☆☆
- J’ven Williams, OT (Reading, Pa.) ☆☆☆☆
- Neeo Avery, EDGE (Only, Md.) ☆☆☆☆
- Mathias Barnwell, ATH (Fredericksburg, Va.) ☆☆☆☆
- Lamont Payne, CB (Bridgeville, Pa.) ☆☆☆☆
- Joshua Miller, IOL (Colonial Heights, Va.) ☆☆☆
- Joey Schlaffer, TE (Reading, Pa.) ☆☆☆
- Anthony Donkoh, OT (Aldie, Va.) ☆☆☆
Penn State’s strength in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia regions is evident, particularly in the latter. With Birchmeier, Barnwell, Miller, and Donkoh, the Nittany Lions have secured commitments from the state’s No. 1, No. 4, No. 11, and No. 13-ranked players, respectively.
Additionally, 247Sports projects impending commitments from four-star athlete Cameron Seldon and four-star linebacker Tony Rojas, Virginia’s No. 2 and No. 5 ranked recruits. 247Sports included a 100% confidence rating for those predictions, for what it’s worth.
In Maryland, Avery’s commitment lands Penn State the state’s No. 4 prospect. 247Sports also projects a future commitment from Maryland’s No. 7 ranked player, four-star interior offensive lineman Antonio Tripp.
Franklin’s history in the DMV region began during his stints as wide receiver coach, offensive coordinator, assistant coach, and recruiting coordinator at the University of Maryland. Franklin maintains that his reputation and Rolodex grew as a result of those experiences.
“Spending eight years in [Maryland]…I recruited good portions of the state, so I got good familiarity, and that goes a long way,” Franklin said in November. “Even when I was at other places, we still kept kind of going back there and recruiting. A lot of good friendships, a lot of good relationships…those things are important on the recruiting trail.”
Penn State’s DMV efforts have been building upon recent recruiting successes over the last three offseasons. Notably, in the Class of 2022, the Nittany Lions signed No. 1-ranked Maryland recruit Dani Dennis-Sutton. A year earlier, Franklin and his team bagged the No. 1 Maryland recruit again with offensive lineman Landon Tengwall.
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About the Author
Nittany Lions old and new have received new jersey numbers ahead of the 2022 season.