How does Penn State handle over-offering in recruiting? Looking at Lions RB2 picture, more: mailbag
Penn State running backs Miles Sanders (left) and Saquon Barkley run a drill during practice in Holuba Hall on Nov.30, 2016.
The PennLive Penn State football and recruiting mailbag is back this week to take a look at recruiting, the depth chart, and more to get you to or through the weekend.
Today’s topics cover plenty of ground, so let’s not waste any time and get to them. A quick programming note, though: To have your question featured in a future mailbag, shoot an email over anytime. Questions can also be sent via Twitter to @GregPickel, but some readers have said the embedded tweets don’t always show up, so we will be copying those questions into a text format moving forward.
Anyway, let’s get to it, starting with a recruiting question from Cody:
Do we have room to take 4 WRs this class? Shorter, Butts, Dotson, and George?
Penn State already has one receiver in this class, four-star Monmouth Junction, N.J., receiver Justin Shorter (now a five-star in the 247Sports Composite), and Cody wonders if Harrisburg four-star Shaquon Anderson-Butts, Hightstown, N.J., four-star Jahan Dotson, and Oxon Hill, Md., four-star Daniel George, all priority targets for the Lions, could all fit into this class.
The answer? Probably not, but the Lions shouldn’t have to worry about it as one of those guys is likely to go elsewhere, and three seems to be the magic number at receiver in this cycle.
Don’t forget, either, that Phoenix, Ariz., four-star Solomon Enis is on the board, as well. I don’t expect Philadelphia St. Joe’s receiver Darryle Simmons to pick Penn State on Sunday, for what that is worth.
It’s a good cycle for receivers, so don’t rule out PSU taking four entirely. Just don’t think it’s all that likely once all is said and done.
That question is also a good segue to our next inquiry, from “A”, who asks:
Let’s say PSU needs 4 OLGs in a cycle and they over-offer by sending out 6. When they reach 4 do they pull the remaining 2? Or, is it ethical to pick the best 4, and “cancel” 2. Bigger picture: let’s say a 3*** accepts the one offer sent out for Q ,State only needs 1. A 5***** comes along and wants in. What can State do?
This is a really good question because it gets at the heart of the problem with recruiting: Someone is always going to feel frustrated and/or left out, whether it be a school or a prospect, more often than not by the time the process wraps up.
The key here is being straight forward, and letting every offered prospect know exactly how many guys are on the board and how many spots are available. In the end, recruiting is a numbers game, and while the number of available scholarships in each class can sometimes fluctuate from year to year and even month to month when transfers and things like that come into play, the only way to keep everything and everyone honest is to be transparent, and that sometimes means running out of room.
Some see “over-offering” as a problem, yet putting all the eggs in one basket is something that burns schools, as PSU has found out more than a few times, especially at defensive tackle over the years.
So, to answer the question head on, Penn State can be selective with offers, which it is, and wait out the big names while telling others why they haven’t offered yet, what needs to happen for them to get an offer, and what space is left once it comes.
And, yes, sometimes they’ll have to turn an offered prospect away because they’re out of room. It happens, and again, is as much a math problem as anything else.
A question from the Twitter account @107kUnrivaled:
Who do you expect to be RB2? Sanders, Robinson, Allen.
This question seems to intrigue a lot of fans, but I’m not sure it matters who the designated number two is on the depth chart behind junior Saquon Barkley.
We saw coordinator Joe Moorhead mix and match his pieces quite a bit during his first season, and there is no reason to doubt that will continue, which is to say that Miles Sanders, Andre Robinson, and Mark Allen will all get a slice of the pie in spelling Barkley.
If forced to pick which one ends up No. 2 on the official depth chart (which, again, is unlikely to matter), I’d go with Sanders coming out of spring practice.
What is Andy Frank’s role during the summer months? Has he weighed in on his plans with regard to the new recruiting calendar?
Frank is the man at the controls when it comes to ironing out, laying out, and just about anything else related to the program’s recruiting efforts.
In the summer, that means coordinating satellite camp travel, organizing and directing the school’s on-campus campus, planning ahead for fall unofficial visits, setting up summer unofficial visits, and dishing out tasks like film breakdown, recruiting outreach, and the like to members of his team.
He is a jack of many trades, and his role is to be busy building the future of the program all summer long and all year long.
Our final question comes from Scott:
“Judging by the units returning, what new wrinkles to you expect JoMo & Co. to add to the playbook this year?”
You know what we’ll end up seeing that’s new? Something that we do not expect to see.
Schools on Penn State’s 2017 schedule are all going to be prepared for packages that include Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens just like they’ll be ready to have to defend monstrous receivers Irv Charles and Juwan Johnson on the same play from time to time. Those things are expected.
It’s what the mastermind cooks up that we aren’t think of that will be most intriguing to watch. PSU has some athletic big guys now; have to wonder if tackle-eligible red zone plays become a factor.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the weekend!