State's Franklin Talks Recruiting

The Nittany Lions' first-year coach discussed recruiting in general on the promo trail. PSU landed two more four-star prospects earlier this week.

Even as new Penn State coach James Franklin was on the road kicking off a promotional tour Tuesday, commitments kept rolling in for the Nittany Lions' powerhouse 2015 recruiting class.

Four-star prospects Sterling Jenkins (an offensive tackle) and Brandon Wimbush (a quarterback) both pledged to PSU Tuesday evening. They are the 14th and 15th members of the Class of 2015, which is ranked No. 2 in the nation (behind Alabama).

Though NCAA rules prevent Franklin from talking about specific prospects until they sign, the subject of recruiting was front and center during press availabilities and speaking engagements in York and Hershey, Pa.

Franklin attributed Penn State's early recruiting success for this cycle at least in part to an aggressive approach once it makes a scholarship offer.

“We tell them all the time, we're not taking 'no' for an answer,” Franklin said. “You can go through the process as long as you want. You can say 'yes' now, or you can say 'yes' later. But you are going to say 'yes.' ”

Though the Nittany Lions are piling up commits, Franklin said it is not because they are sending out blanket offers to anyone with good video.

“A lot of schools offer kids based on film evaluation,” he explained. “We don't do that because the day we offer a kid, if he wants to commit that day, we're taking him. And I want to make sure we do our homework.”

That includes talking with coaches, teachers and even other students at a prospect's school, and, obviously, the player's family. The PSU staff also talks to other high school coaches in the area where the prospect plays.

The staff connects with recruits on social media and monitors things there, too.

“We want to know as much as we can about the young man, because we're making an investment,” Franklin said.

Later, he added, ”We want to find out as much as possible about the young man, and then show them there is no other option.”

A big part of selling recruits on Penn State is inviting them to campus for visits. In that regard, Franklin said the university “sells itself” due to its academic reputation. Also, drawing an estimated crowd of 72,000 to Beaver Stadium for the recent Blue-White Game made a positive impression on many recruits.

“It's unreal,” Franklin said.

One largely overlooked aspect of Penn State's recruiting success under Franklin has been the job committed players are doing of pitching the program to other prospects.

“You want these guys to take ownership of their own class,” Franklin said. “The recruiting class will be as good as they want it to be. It's one thing for them to hear the message from me. It's another to hear it from their teammates and future teammates.

“We tell them all the time, you'll only be as good as the guys you surround yourself with,” he added.

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