Once James Franklin arrived, really, it seemed likely the first-year Penn State head coach would do everything he could to recruit nearby mid-Atlantic states.
Not just anyone in Maryland or Virginia or New Jersey or Pennsylvania. But the best players those states have to offer.
So far, he has done that. He’s traveled Maryland in a helicopter, traveled in Virginia by plane and car, and has announced the Lions’ plan to invest plenty of resources in the 300-mile area surrounding University Park.
Those efforts paid off Saturday. Despite a 20-19 loss to visiting Maryland, the day was not dampened for 2016 four-star Hyattsville, Md., DeMatha Catholic receiver Tino Ellis or junior three-star Hampton, Va., Phoebus High corner Robbie Robinson (in photo at top of story), who were on hand with Penn State 2016 defensive end commit Shane Simmons for the contest.
“It was a great visit,” Ellis said. “The fans are crazy.”
“The atmosphere was live,” Robinson added. “The people I were with made it fun.”
Four-star Potomac, Md., Bullis School quarterback Dwayne Haskins and four-star Rockville, Md., Wootton receiver Trevon Diggs also made the trip. They came without question to see the Lions, but it was no secret that seeing them play the home state Terps was an added bonus.
The quintet spoke with Penn State’s coaches before and after the game, and the message to all of them was clear: come here, together, and win a title.
Ellis has not been offered yet, but the other four have been. He’s hoping one comes his way soon, but knows film evaluation is still needed.
As for the on-field action, and the environment surrounding it, that stood out, too.
“It’s going to be a great rivalry,” Ellis said. “What happened last Saturday at the coin toss is the beginning of something serious between Maryland and Pennsylvania.
“It really meant a lot for all of us to go on the visit together representing the DMV, so the DMV can have that connection to PSU.”
Robinson agreed, adding he was impressed by the energy generated by the 103,000 and change announced attendance.
“Despite the loss, it was live,” he said.
“They want me, and said I’ll make an impact on the program. It was fun.”
James Franklin Postgame PC