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Penn State coach James Franklin has been on the recruiting trail nonstop since the end of the season.

Penn State plans Fiesta Bowl activities; Nittany Lions positioned to make impact in recruiting

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Plan accordingly

If you are headed to Glendale, Ariz., to watch Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 30, the school announced fan plans for the days leading up to the bowl matchup with Washington.

The day before the game, a pep rally will be held at Scottsdale Stadium, with gates opening at 2 p.m. local time and the program getting underway at 3 p.m.

Additionally, the school has invited fans to participate in a morning of community service while in town.

From Penn State University:

Alumni and fans (ages 12 and over) are invited to St. Mary’s Alliance Food Bank in Phoenix Dec. 29 for a morning of community service, organizing food donations and packing emergency food boxes to be distributed in the Phoenix area. The service project will be 8:30 to 11 a.m. (MT) at 2831 N. 31st Avenue.

Penn State is asking fans interested in volunteering to pre-register for the event.

Early arrival

When James Franklin arrived at Penn State, his message was clear. He wanted to dominate the state in recruiting. He wanted to work harder than any other staff in the Big Ten to keep Penn State’s talent replenished regularly.

Franklin had to work around lingering sanctions early in his tenure, but as Mark Brennan from Fight On State points out, Franklin has Penn State positioned well during the early signing period.

From Brennan:

There is another element that is working in Penn State’s favor when it comes to the early signing period. When he speaks to high school athletes and their parents at camps during the summer, Franklin has a funny line he uses.

To paraphrase, he says there may be smarter coaches out there and there may be better-looking coaches out there … at which point he stops and jokingly chides the crowd for not telling him he was wrong about the “better-looking” bit. After everyone laughs, he gets serious.

“But nobody will outwork us,” he says, making his point.

Brennan continues that Franklin displayed his work ethic mere moments after Penn State’s season-ending drubbing of Maryland when he was out recruiting the next day. And when he spoke to media members at the team’s bowl media day last Friday, he had just returned from a recruiting trip that morning.

Per Brennan:

The good news for Penn State is that with all of the hard work the staff has put in, it is unlikely that there will be any serious bad news Wednesday. As of this writing, the Lions had the nation’s fifth ranked class. Of the 20 players committed, 19 have said they will sign their Letters of Intent Wednesday. (The only commit not expected to sign is Pennsylvania three-star receiver Shaquon Anderson-Butts, who is working on improving his academics.)

The question remains: Will Micah Parsons sign on that dotted line on Wednesday, too?

2 added to Senior Bowl

After tight end Mike Gesicki and safety Marcus Allen show their stuff against a very good Washington team in the Fiesta Bowl, the pair will get a chance to showcase their talents in front of NFL scouts and general managers.

Both accepted invites to the annual Senior Bowl, writes The Daily Collegian’s Jack R. Hirsh. Gesicki is projected as anywhere from a second- to fourth-round pick, according to Walter Football. Allen is the ninth-best available safety and could land in the middle rounds, according to Walter Football.

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A new look

Joe Moorhead has moved south, leaving Penn State to coach at Mississippi State, and Ricky Rahne has taken over as offensive coordinator. So how will the offense look under Rahne?

Andrew Callahan of Lions 247 offers a look at what fans and opponents can expect with Rahne leading the offense.

5 questions, 5 answers

John McGonigal of the Centre Daily Times is back with another installment of his five questions with a former Penn State standout. This time it is former defensive end Deion Barnes.

Barnes is now an assistant coach at Northeast High School in Philadelphia and offered his view of several current Nittany Lions defenders.

Miss previous editions of the Wakeup Call? They can be found here.