Stay updated as Penn State rises toward the top of the recruiting rankings! Don’t miss the coverage from Tyler Donohue, who brings a decade of experience as a national college football reporter and recruiting department staff member with a Big Ten program. Read his daily notebooks here at 7:20 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and follow us on Twitter for the latest Nittany Lions recruiting news.
Penn State commits excited about James Franklin’s contract extension
Penn State announced a long-term contract extension for football coach James Franklin on Friday. This agreement keeps Franklin on campus through at least 2020, and provides him with a pay bump that could rise with incentive bonuses.
Franklin, who replaced Bill O’Brien in 2014, is 25-15 through three seasons. Penn State enjoyed a breakout campaign last fall, winning nine consecutive games en route to a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl appearance. The Nittany Lions narrowly missed a spot in the College Football Playoff, and start the 2017 season at No. 6 overall in the preseason coaches poll.
Throw in his highly successful recruiting efforts and it’s clear Penn State needed to ensure Franklin remains in Happy Valley for years to come.
It didn’t take long for members of the 2018 recruiting class to react to the news. Several Nittany Lions pledges expressed excitement Friday during discussions with Land of 10.
Here’s a rundown of those comments, which focused on loyalty and optimism about the future.
Receiver Justin Shorter: “It is very well deserved and couldn’t happen to a better coach and at a better time. I am very excited to know that he will be my head coach during the time I will be playing at Penn State.”
Safety Isaiah Humphries: “He said he wasn’t leaving and he’s not leaving, so he kept his word.”
Defensive tackle Aeneas Hawkins: “It means Penn State is in the best hands in college football. I’ve been around high-level football my whole life. He’s the best leader I’ve been around.”
Tight end Pat Freiermuth: “It’s huge knowing that he will be there for my whole experience at Penn State. I committed to him and the program he is running, so it’s exciting.”
Linebacker Jesse Luketa: “I’m ecstatic because I know my head coach isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We’re committed to him and he’s committed to us.”
Cornerback Trent Gordon: “This means that I get to spend my years at Penn State with a great coach with experience. We’re all happy and excited for him, and he definitely deserves it.”
I also caught up with John Miner, the father of 4-star cornerback commit Jordan Miner. He provided a parent’s perspective on the development.
“I love it,” Miner said. “It gives me the security of stability for my son. It feels good knowing that my son will have the same coach for the whole duration at Penn State.”
Nittany Lions legacy Solomon Enis shortens his list of options
Solomon Enis, the son of former standout Penn State running back Curtis Enis, took another step toward his college commitment Thursday afternoon. The 4-star receiver revealed a top-7 list featuring five Pac-12 programs.
Enis, who attends North Canyon (Phoenix) High School, maintains interest in the Nittany Lions. Penn State unsurprisingly made the cut, along with Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Ole Miss, USC and Utah.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound prospect traveled to Happy Valley on April 22, attending Nittany Lions spring game activities alongside his father. He plans to return the final week of September, using an official visit for a Sept. 30 game against Indiana.
— Solomon (@SolomonEnis) April 23, 2017
Enis and in-state slot threat Jahan Dotson are considered the remaining priorities for Penn State at receiver. The Nittany Lions carry three commitments at the position: Shorter, Daniel George and Shaquon Anderson-Butts.
Shorter and Enis competed together this summer at The Opening, an annual showcase event in Beaverton, Ore. at Nike’s world headquarters. They claimed a 7-on-7 tournament title during the showcase event, and also shared that roster with Penn State running back pledge Ricky Slade.
Enis caught 64 passes for 1,144 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, per MaxPreps.
PJ Mustipher joins a group of Penn State pledges on All-America Game roster
The 2018 Under Armour All-America Game is becoming must-see television for Nittany Lions fans. Recent defensive tackle commit PJ Mustipher became the latest Penn State class member to announce he’ll participate, joining Anderson-Butts, Shorter and Slade.
Mustipher, a 6-5, 290-pound McDonogh School (Owings Mills, Md.) senior, shared the news via Twitter on Thursday evening.
Excited to say that I've committed to play in the Under Armour All-American game! pic.twitter.com/367KmxXNcw
— Pj Mustipher (@KingPJ55) August 17, 2017
Considered the No. 6 defensive tackle in 247Sports’ 2018 composite rankings, he pledged to Penn State on Aug. 7. Mustipher is one of four defensive linemen in the class, and the top-rated recruit among them.
He recorded 47 tackles, 15 sacks and 4 forced fumbles last season, according to the Baltimore Sun. Mustipher also earned a state wrestling championship last winter.
The Nittany Lions aim to add another commitment during the All-America Game, which takes place in January at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. Jayson Oweh, a 4-star defensive end from New Jersey, will also compete at the event and intends to announce his decision while in attendance.
His choice is down to Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State. Oweh and Mustipher have established a solid relationship after spending time together at Penn State in May and July.
“I hit Jayson up daily,” Mustipher said.
Expect him and the other Nittany Lions pledges to present their best sales pitches to Oweh in Orlando leading up to his decision.