Penn State completes 2018 class; Nittany Lions assistant focusing on state of Florida
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Signing Day success
Penn State’s strong recruiting effort paid off on National Signing Day when offensive lineman Rasheed Walker chose the Nittany Lions over Ohio State.
That lone addition coupled with the early signees in December, was enough to propel Penn State into a top five recruiting class according to ESPN.
In all, 23 players signed with the Nittany Lions, filling out their big board, but none more important on Wednesday than Walker, writes John McGonigal of the Centre Daily Times.
What was once a position in a bit of question when Bill O’Brien was coaching the Nittany Lions, coach James Franklin has since turned into a strength, writes Bob Flounders of Pennlive.com. Greg Pickel, also of Pennlive, writes that the needs were met for Penn State, especially getting Walker and three other offensive linemen.
One player Penn State couldn’t land however was wide receiver Solomon Enis, whose father Curtis starred at Penn State. Enis chose Utah over the Nittany Lions and others, filling a huge need for the Utes, writes Lynn Worthy of the Salt Lake Tribune.
Still, the future is bright especially with this collectiong of talent.
Penn State made waves nationally with this current recruiting class. In addition to ESPN ranking the Nittany Lions in its top five, 247Sports also said it was a top-five effort for Franklin and company.
The Big Ten is noticing too.
Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com writes that Penn State and Michigan both are gaining ground on Ohio State as the top recruiting school in the conference, and the Buckeyes have taken note.
Not in the plans
Shaquon Anderson-Butts, who had been a Penn State commit for over a year, will not be part of the 2018 class.
Anderson-Butts, the Harrisburg, Pa., wide receiver and high school teammate of current Nittany Lions prize Micah Parsons, instead signed with Iowa Western Community College, where he will play football and perhaps at some point work his way back to a FBS program. Greg Pickel of Pennlive writes that Anderson-Butts is listed as a two-way player, both receiver and defensive back.
Ja’Juan Seider knew what his role would be when he joined Franklin’s staff from Florida. His official title is running backs coach, but the loss of top recruiter Josh Gattis to Alabama has made Seider’s role with the Nittany Lions all the more important.
Mark Wogenrich of the Allentown Morning Call writes that Seider’s main objective is also pretty clear: Recruit the state of Florida.
“[Seider] is going to get us into some doors because of his relationships and his reputation that maybe we weren’t involved in before,” Franklin said. “Now, you combine us finishing in the top 10 the last two years with Ja’Juan’s relationships down there, and I think we can continue to make some progress.”
Penn State has one player from Florida in it’s new class, and one from Texas, but Seider’s ties to Florida run deep as he coached at three different high schools in the state before stints on West Virginia’s and Florida’s staffs.
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Franklin has changed the way Penn State coaches utilize social media, and one of his top assistants took to Twitter on Wednesday to make an announcement of his own.
Defensive line coach Sean Spencer had a little fun on Signing Day himself.
This will mark the fifth straight year Spencer has “committed” to Penn State.
A game above
You would have to go back to the beginning of conference play to find the last time Penn State was above the .500 mark in Big Ten play.
That changed on Wednesday night.
Lamar Stevens scored 25 points to lead Penn State to a much-needed conference win over Maryland, 74-70 at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The win could also ultimately help Penn State’s case for a NCAA Tournament bid next month, writes Vincent Lungaro of The Daily Collegian.
Penn State upped its record to 17-9 overall and 7-6 in the Big Ten. Penn State is at Illinois on Sunday night, a critical, and winnable, game to help the cause further.
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