James Franklin says Penn State’s success boosted national recruiting
ALTOONA — Head coach James Franklin is starting to see the impact of last season’s success on Penn State’s recruiting. There isn’t much of a difference regionally, but he’s definitely noticed a shift nationally.
Ever since the Lions’ Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl berth, players across the country have become more receptive to Penn State. The top players in Texas, Florida and beyond are quickly putting Penn State in their top 10 lists, Franklin said, and that’s something that didn’t happen as often before.
“That doesn’t always mean you’re going to close and get them,” he said at the Penn State Coaches Caravan stop in Altoona on Thursday, “but there’s more players nationally that are high profile players that I think we’re involved with than probably for a long time.
“I can’t imagine it’s been in recent history where we’ve been involved with this many kids on a national scale.”
Sometimes, that puts the coaches in difficult situations.
“We’re going to have to make some tough decisions at the end of the process where we may be turning away some good players,” Franklin said. “I think it’s a position you want to be in. We were in that situation a bit last year.”
Last season’s success didn’t change the recruiting philosophy of coaches — they’ve always looked to recruit nationally — but it has made a difference in how prospects respond to them.
Penn State has commitments in the Class of 2018 from two players out of Texas: Three-star cornerback Trent Gordon and three-star safety Isaiah Humphries. The Lions also have commitments from two five-star, out-of-state recruits in quarterback Justin Fields (Georgia) and all-purpose back Ricky Slade (Virginia).
“I don’t think our approach has changed a whole lot, just more people watched us play and know us,” Franklin. “In some areas that we haven’t recruited as much … that we haven’t been involved in much, I’ve seen a huge difference.”