FRANKLY SPEAKING: A New Year Kicks Off

With the ink barely dried on the Class of 2014 Letters of Intent, Greg Pickel dives right into the Class of 2015 with this huge analysis of needs, targets, offers and more for Penn State.

January 1st marks a new year on every calender, while Aug. 31 will mark the beginning of a new year of Penn State football.

February 6th has a particular, if not evident, significance, too. It officially begins a new recruiting year, one that in most cases has been well underway before its official date arrives.

With that, we launch our first look at the class of 2015.


Working for the Weekend
The weekend will start early for Penn State's coaching staff, as the men who have spent few minutes with family and friends since arriving at University Park will get a well deserved break. According to head coach James Franklin, the staff will be off Thursday through Sunday. It appears many will spend the time seeing family, house hunting, or attending to various personal matters.

Before they left, and while they received National Letters of Intent and hosted a signing day unlike any other in State College, they put some offers out to juniors, undoubtedly setting the table for next week with a Feb. 15 Junior Day quickly approaching.

Penn State sent out four offers Wednesday, and we take a look at each below.


LB Jake Cooper, Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood
A three-star middle linebacker, Cooper received the offer he has long coveted during the morning hours Wednesday, speaking with James Franklin and I believe linebackers coach Brent Pry.

It's no secret that Cooper, who stands 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, has an affection for the program, and it seems fairly likely he'll end up in this class at some point. It's a matter of when, not if, to me.

But this is a fluid game, as the last few weeks taught us, and the 220-pound wrestler will not make junior day due to a sectional tournament that Saturday. A different visit date is possible, but we suspect Cooper will make some scheduled visits out of respect for those staffs before he makes any moves, and you never know what could happen on those trips.

The linebacker will go to Duke Feb. 22, Virginia and Northwestern for spring practice, and Stanford in June.


DE Ryan Buchholz, Malvern (Pa.) Great Valley:
With a couple of trips to University Park under his belt, Buchholz was well on his way to an offer from the old staff. The new one didn't waste any time.

The 6-foot-6, 230 pound three-star now has eight offers, and also likely will not make junior day due to basketball.

"It means the world to me," Buchholz wrote in a text. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to play at a school like that."

The junior is not declaring a top three, or top anything, but did say the Lions were "up there" on his list. I'm not sure he plans to rush the process, but State has to like where it sits at this point in time. A spring, or late winter, visit is likely.


DE Joshua Alabi, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Technical
Though special teams coordinator Charles Huff has previously toured Michigan, it was defensive line coach Sean Spencer that reached out 6-foot-5, 240 pound three-star to extend an offer.

Alabi's name is a new name in every context imaginable, as he's one of the few juniors to receive an offer that had no interest that we can find from Vanderbilt or Penn State prior to receiving an offer.

"I don't really know anything about Penn State, but it's a blessing to have the offer," Alabi wrote in a message. "I'll be looking more at the school now."

In October, Alabi called Tennessee his No. 1 school, adding to FOS sister site Go Blue Wolverine's Josh Newkirk that he loved Michigan, too. This one seems like a tough pull, but with a few other offers out in the Detroit area over the last week or so, it's clear Penn State will attempt to pull talent in that area away from Michigan and Michigan State, among others.


WR Brandon Polk, Ashburn (Va.) Briar Woods
While it's not an especially deep well considering State just signed its first prospect from the school, Penn State went back to the well when it comes to Briar Woods, the home of 2013 commit Trace McSorley, by offering four-star Polk Wednesday.

I was not able to contact Polk Wednesday for additional details, but Penn State will need all the help it can get from McSorley, as Polk is the 11th best receiver in the country according to Scout and holds 10 offers to date.


Offer Here, Offer There, Offers Everywhere
If recruiting is an inexact science, discerning underclassmen who truly have verbal scholarship offers can be a minefield. There are assistant coach offers, promises construed as official, statements of interest that turn into offers, and offers from an old staff that don't stand with a new one, among other things.

I say this to preface what comes next, which I believe to be a near complete run down of which underclassmen across the country hold an offer from Penn State. We're probably missing some, and some others are not legitimate, but it should paint...


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