It often takes until the Big Ten opener for a quality crowd of recruits to visit Beaver Stadium. This year is no different.
James Franklin and his staff will be busy Friday and Saturday ahead of Penn State’s noon Homecoming clash.
What will they be doing? Get the rundown below.
A Handy Trip
There’s been lots of focus in recent weeks on Michal Menet. The Reading, Pa., Exeter Township four-star offensive lineman has heard from the likes of Ohio State, Michigan State Penn State, Oregon and Auburn in recent weeks.
Menet, a junior, will travel to Columbus, Ohio, this weekend to visit Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. He will visit Penn State Oct. 25 when the Lions play host Ohio State at Beaver Stadium.
Before all of that, though, he’ll see Herb Hand. Penn State’s offensive line coach will travel to Reading Friday night to see Menet and his teammates battle Pottsville.
Coaches attending games often aren’t game-changers in a recruitment; yet, they help. Hand’s trip can certainly not hurt the Lions, a program Menet with which is plenty familiar.
Jordan Whitehead has traveled to State College on more than one occasion. This time will be different, though.
This time, it will be official.
The Monaca, Pa., Central Valley senior corner is set to decide Oct. 3, just days after he spends the weekend at University Park. The four-star is expected to be in town Friday through Sunday (taking advantage of the 48 hours allowed for official visits) before returning home later Sunday.
Whitehead has long held a top four of Penn State, Pittsburgh, Ohio State and West Virginia, in no particular order. That fact remains heading into the weekend. Penn State won’t merely help itself by getting Whitehead to show up — he’s planned to all along. Rather, it needs its players and commitments to detail what is different from other programs, and its coaching staff to distinguish why his opportunities at Penn State are better suited for him than ones offered by other schools.
As it relates to the staff, that can be tough: the pressures of preparing for a game — let alone a conference game — while showing an important prospect a good time can be difficult. If Penn State had its way, a majority, if not all, of its official visitors would travel to University Park in December, after the regular season was complete.
It’s not an ideal world, though. But a noon kick certainly allows for more one-on-one time following the game.
“We want to make sure that we're prepared for both of those goals with 100 percent of our effort," offensive recruiting coordinator and receivers coach Josh Gattis said Thursday when asked in general about playing a game and playing host to official visitors on the same weekend. "Our No. 1 goal each week — and always each week — is being 1-0, and that's our main focus.
"You're allowed 48 hours to show a prospect and his family everything that you have to offer them. That's the thing that we want to do for any of our official visitors. We want to maximize the time that we have [in order] to show them everything from an academic standpoint, to an athletic standpoint, to a social standpoint [and show what] State College and Penn State can provide for their family for the future."
Filling the Sideline
Penn State will play host to a bevy of top-flight recruits Saturday. After two home games against ho-hum opponents leading to small prospect crowds, it will be a change of play.
So who are some of the top prospects expected to be on hand?
Let’s start in the Keystone State, where Whitehead is joined by talented Exton, Pa., Downingtown East four-star tight end Cary Angeline. The junior has not been on the road at all during the summer and into fall, save for a June trip to Penn State. Needless to say, the Lions sit in great shape to land the tight end.
Moving onto Maryland, Class of 2015 verbal commitment Adam McLean will be on hand for his first Penn State regular-season game. That’s a plus for him, but bigger news for the Lions in the sense of adding another voice to the lengthy list of ones trying to sway Whitehead. Two more prospects, end Terrell Hall (a three-star) and tight end Devante Brooks (a three star) from Washington, D.C., St. John’s will also be in attendance. Hall picked up a Nittany Lion offer earlier this week.
Finally, on the basketball front, it’s a big weekend for Patrick Chambers and his men’s program. The head coach and program members have been on the sideline for both home games this year, and that won’t change Saturday. Chambers and company will play host to Levan Alston, a three-star guard from Haverford, Pa.. He is slated to decide next week.
For the full visitor list, and more Nittany Lion recruiting insight, click through to our TAP community for the latest info on Penn State football and recruiting.